Estate planning refers to the process of executing certain legal documents that dictate how your assets will be managed or dispersed upon death. All estate planning should include a last will and testament. Your last will and testament can dispose of property such as cars, personal property, cash, stocks and bonds, and real property, among other assets. By having an estate plan in place prior to your death, you ensure that your assets pass to who you want them to, not who intestate statutes dictate.
That being said, who needs estate planning? The best answer to this question is anyone over eighteen years of age. Regardless of your marital status or the size of your estate, establishing an estate plan should be a priority.
If you are considering executing an estate plan, contact an experienced Probate and Estate Attorneys Monroe, NC.
Documents within your Estate Plan
Many young adults believe that estate planning is for the elderly or those who have accumulated a large amount of wealth. On the contrary, an estate plan is important for anyone over the age of eighteen. Typically, estate planning involves more than just executing a will. An estate plan could include several documents, such as:
- Trusts, if applicable
- Last Will and Testament
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Advance Directive or Living Will
When Do You Need an Estate Plan?
Now is the time to make sure your estate plan is in place. Generally, every adult should have a basic estate plan which they can modify as circumstances change. Certain life events, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the loss of a loved one, may necessitate a change in your estate plan. That said, specific scenarios necessitate different components of an estate plan. Examples of these include:
- Reaching Adulthood
At age eighteen, you should enact a plan designating someone you trust to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated to do so yourself. This can be done by executing a Health Care Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. 2. 2. A change in your marital status.
A change in your marital status may necessitate a change to your estate planning documents. For example, you may wish to name your spouse as an heir to your estate in your Last Will and Testament. In addition, you may wish to name your spouse as your health care and financial agent. On the other hand, if you have been through a divorce, you may wish to remove your spouse as your heir and/or agents, and name alternate parties as your heir and to manage your healthcare and assets.
- Having Children
If you have underage children, it is important to ensure they are taken care of in the event you pass away. You can do this by naming a suitable guardian and creating testamentary trust which would give the named Trustee to power to manage their assets.
Plan Your Estate with a Monroe Probate and Estate Attorney
Estate planning goes beyond asset distribution. It allows you to designate duties such as personal care, health care, and financial management to people you trust. Ultimately, this will enable you to live your life in the best possible way, even if you are unable to make these decisions on your own.
Remember, if you don’t execute a valid estate plan, your care, and your assets could be handled according to North Carolina law. Please contact the Probate and Estate Attorneys Monroe, NC, at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, to get started on your estate plan.