At Thomas-Walters, PLLC, our attorneys help people plan for past their lifetime by creating an estate plan that works best for them and their loved ones.
Estate planning is the process by which an individual or family arranges the transfer of assets in anticipation of death. Estate planning is executed in the form of a will or type of trust, and the kind of estate plan you need will vary depending on a few factors. Follow the guide below to get an idea of which factors will influence the type of estate plan you should choose, and call to schedule a free consultation with Thomas-Walters, PLLC with any initial questions you may have.
What Factors Influence The Type Of Estate Plan I Should Choose?
There are many different kinds of estate plans, from a simple last will and testament to a revocable living trust and everything in between. The first step of estate planning is to fully assess your financial situation. Our lawyers do this by asking certain questions:
- Are any of your beneficiaries under 18? The age of your beneficiaries will be a factor in deciding how and when your beneficiaries receive their inheritances.
- Do you own property in another state? There are taxes that could be imposed if real estate in another state is included in your plan.
- Are you married? Those who are legally married divide their assets amongst their spouse, so this is a key factor in your estate plan.
- Do you or your spouse have children from other relationships? This may affect the asset distribution process once you have passed away.
- Do you own a business? Just like people need to account for their assets and liabilities in their will, so does a business.
- Will your estate be valued higher than $5.4 million? High-value estates will present unique challenges, so be sure to disclose the full amount of your assets to your attorney.
What Are The Components Of A Strong Estate Plan?
It’s important to continue your legacy long after you have passed away by setting up an estate plan that protects your wealth and ensures your family is well taken care of and protected in the long run. The stronger your estate plan is, the less your family will need to do once you pass away, as there will be less confusion.
A strong estate plan will contain a health care proxy. A health care proxy is a pre-appointed individual who will speak on your behalf and make medical decisions for you should you become unable to communicate. For example, if you get into a car accident and are in a coma, you will not be able to communicate how you wish to receive your care. Some people have religious or spiritual wishes that simply cannot be upheld if they are unable to speak and don’t have a health care proxy, so establishing one early on is important.
Similarly, an estate plan should contain a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document that permits someone else to legally act on your behalf. For example, once you pass away, your power of attorney (often a trusted family member or loved one) will be responsible for upholding your wishes and settling any outstanding legal tasks.
Your estate plan will, of course, include a will as well. Your will contains the sum of your assets as well as detailed instructions for how, when, and why you want each asset distributed to your beneficiaries. The will also contains a list of all beneficiaries. If you have young children, their prospective legal guardians are appointed in the will as well.
As previously mentioned, there are different kinds of estate plans that will suit different kinds of people with different needs. The best way to know for sure precisely which type of estate plan will work best for you and your family is to schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.
How Much Does It Cost To Consult With An Estate Planning Lawyer?
The cost of preparing a valid will can vary from attorney to attorney. Not all estate planning lawyers offer a free consultation for those in need of help.
Thomas-Walters, PLLC, we never charge for your initial consultation. It’s free to call our legal team to seek initial advice regarding your estate plan. Our attorneys pledge to make the estate planning process as transparent and easy to understand as possible, and will guide you through the process every step of the way.
Call Thomas-Walters, PLLC, to schedule your free, no-obligation estate planning consultation today.