While we are busy living life, we often do not stop to consider what will happen in the event of illness, hardships, or death. Let’s face it: no one wants to think about what will happen when they die. It’s important to have a plan in place should something happen to you, and just as important for your loved ones to be able to grieve without the added stress of handling your estate. Estate planning is more than the creation of wills and trusts, it also includes living documents.

The short answer is, yes, estate planning really is all that important. Managing your finances and assets while you are still alive is the best way to prepare for past your lifetime. Anyone can benefit from drafting a last will and testament or a trust, but especially those with children should be aware of how important it is to ensure they are financially protected in the future. If you pass away without a will, you could be placing burdensome duties on your loved ones.

Read on to learn more about the importance of estate planning and the many tools that can be used to draft a strong plan for past your lifetime. If you have concerns or questions about drafting a will and testament or a trust, or just estate planning in general, schedule a free consultation with Thomas Walters PLLC.

What Happens When Someone Passes Away Without Leaving A Will?

When someone passes without leaving a will, this is referred to as “intestate.” This person’s property will be passed along to their heirs according to state laws. Most people do not readily know the estate laws of their home state, and for this reason, the best course to take is to meet with an estate lawyer who will help to determine which options are best suited for you, and draft a valid will. Once wills are drafted, witnessed, and signed, they go through “probate,” which is the formal process in court that deems the will legally acceptable.

How Do I Know What Estate Planning Tools Are Best For Me And My Family?

A will may be a simple solution for some, but others may prefer more flexibility to make changes while they are still alive. Trusts are legal arrangements that allow for the transfer of assets and owners, or guarantors, to a trustee. In the case of a revocable trust, the trust itself is the owner of the property, but the guarantor can serve as a trustee and adjust, amend, or terminate the trust at any time. These trusts can also be set up with successors, so that the assets in the trust pass to them outside of probate. The assets in these trusts are still subject to estate taxes.

Aside from wills and trusts, an estate lawyer will be able to help you to draft living documents that will appoint people you trust to take care of certain aspects of your life in the event you are incapacitated. These documents can include a power of attorney for financial decisions, a power of attorney for medical decisions, guardian appointments.

What Does An Estate Planning Lawyer Do Aside From Help Me Draft Documents?

As your estate planning team, the attorneys at Thomas Walters PLLC will look at your financials and help you create an airtight estate plan that has your family’s best interests in mind for the future. By listening to your needs and wishes, and understanding the unique needs of your family members and loved ones, your lawyer will find the best course of action to manage your finances past your lifetime.

For example, some families have children with special needs who might require certain government assistance programs such as Medicaid in the future. By setting up a will or trust for this special needs child, your lawyer will ensure they are protected financially in the future and, that by receiving beneficiary money, they aren’t barred from receiving any government related assistance they might need in the future.

Schedule A Free, No Obligation Consultation With Thomas Walters PLLC Today

If you have questions about the importance of estate planning, or want to learn how you can get started creating a will, trust, or estate plan for your loved ones, contact Thomas Walters, PLLC today. Our Chapel Hill estate planning lawyers offer a free consultation to anyone interested in learning more about getting started with the process of estate planning. In your free consultation, we’ll take the time to answer any questions you have about managing your assets and finances, and we pledge to provide you with the best guidance we possibly can.