Estate planning is the seemingly simple concept of addressing the transfer of property and management of your affairs upon your death or incapacity. However, without professional guidance in the development of your estate plan, many unintended consequences and inequitable scenarios are likely to occur. Everyone has unique sets of circumstances that need to be addressed individually. Knowing just enough to be dangerous or the reliance upon how a particular “estate plan” worked for a friend or family member, can lead to major mistakes. Our knowledgeable and friendly attorneys are here to help you develop a plan.
An estate plan is the compilation of properly executed legal documents that address issues of death, incapacity, minor guardianship, and property management and distribution. Probate avoidance and control of your assets after your death are other important aspects that can be achieved through the development of a professionally tailored estate plan. Life events such as owning real property, getting married, and having children are all key indicators that you should consider estate planning. You are especially encouraged to prepare an estate plan if you are: in a second marriage; have step-children; own out-of-state property; have special needs children, or have beneficiaries with spendthrift concerns.
A Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is a legal document designed to coordinate the distribution of your assets and is especially important if you desire to have your final wishes clearly communicated after death.
When there is no will, the state in which you reside has the power to decide how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries according to the state’s laws. This process is known as “intestate succession” and it may result in a settlement process contrary to what you prefer for your survivors. This can be prevented, however, by meeting with our attorneys to have documents drafted reflecting your wishes.