Encourage your parents to create their estate plan as soon as possible. It’s never an easy task to begin planning for past your lifetime, but doing so mitigates the risk of tension, confusion, and many other challenges after a loved one passes away.

Our lawyers understand it can be difficult to start this conversation. For that reason, we offer a free initial consultation for any North Carolina resident who is interested in beginning this process. You can chat with our lawyers to ask any initial pressing questions you may have, so that you can chat with your parents afterward equipped with all the right information. Read on to learn more about creating an estate plan and why it is so important – and call Thomas Walters as soon as you can to get started.

What Kind of Disputes Can You Avoid By Creating An Estate Plan Ahead Of Time?

As you know, estate plans house the assets of an individual. When an individual passes away, their assets (money, property, jewelry, stocks, etc.) are distributed among family members (beneficiaries) under the guidance of a trustee. A trustee’s responsibilities might include approving or denying distributions of assets. This process can become tense for some families, and can lead to arguments between beneficiaries and disputes that are not easy to solve in the heat of the moment. By creating an estate plan early, and laying out clear, concrete terms for who gets what, your parents can reduce the risk of issues arising between family members.

Properly creating and administering a trust requires time, effort, and a lot of patience. It is wise to turn to the help of a lawyer as soon as possible. It is a smart idea to encourage your parents to create their will or estate plan while they are able to make clear judgments and decisions about what they want. An accident can happen in the blink of an eye, and not having the proper documentation readily available should someone pass away or become incapacitated can have serious consequences.

What Are The Elements Of A Strong Estate Plan?

There are many elements that can potentially become part of your parent’s estate plan. However, the elements of their estate plan will vary depending on you and your family’s specific needs. There is no “one size fits all” approach to creating an estate plan, so talking to a lawyer and discussing you and your parent’s unique needs is the best course of action to take.

A durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney is a legally-binding document that designates one individual, which is legally referred to as an agent, that will become responsible for handling every aspect of your finances, asset management, and other significant matters should you become unable to do so yourself. Establishing a power of attorney early on in life is important, because accidents can happen at any time, and your parents will want to have a trusted person in place to help if need be.

A health care proxy: A health care proxy is similar to a durable power of attorney. If you are appointed as a health care proxy, you will become responsible for making medical decisions on behalf of one of your parents should they become physically, mentally, or emotionally unable to do so.

What Happens When Someone Passes Away Without A Will?

When a person passes without a will, or without any kind of estate plan established, there is no plan for how their assets will be distributed. Every state has a different set of laws that manage how someone’s leftover assets and debts are distributed. Without a will, there is no predetermined course of action for this, which could make the process for getting distributing assets to your beneficiaries quite difficult.

Every state has its own rules, so the processes that may occur if someone passes away without a will will vary greatly. In general, North Carolina will likely permit the deceased’s next of kin to receive assets from that individual’s estate. Things can quickly become complicated, as you can imagine, if the deceased individual has multiple children from other marriages, or other close family members that feel entitled to these assets.

When someone passes away without a will or estate plan, surviving family members often become tangled up in arguments about how assets will be distributed and designated beneficiaries.

Schedule A Free Consultation With Thomas Walters Today

We know it can be difficult to start the conversation about estate planning with your parents, but you will be glad you did. Our lawyers make it easy to create these important plans, and will take the time to understand your family’s unique needs and wants. By working together to create a strong estate plan, you and your parents can have the peace of mind you deserve knowing their wishes will always be upheld.

Contact Thomas Walters today for a free initial consultation about estate planning.