Few people like to think about their mortality, but estate planning is necessary to ensure that your wishes are carried out after you die. Estate planning involves making intimate decisions on what will happen to your property and assets, as well as any medical care you may need if you become incapacitated. It can also designate a tutor for minor children. While the thought of estate planning may be daunting, it is important to have a plan in case of unexpected circumstances. By taking the time to make thoughtful decisions, you can give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind.
At Magnolia Law, we can help you navigate the estate planning process and create a plan that meets your unique needs. We take the time to get to know you and your family, as well as your assets and your goals for the future. We can then work with you to create a comprehensive plan that includes all necessary legal documents, such as a will, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives. Our goal is to help you create a plan that gives you peace of mind, knowing that your family and friends will be taken care of in the event of your death or incapacity.
An estate plan typically includes four key components:
A will is a legally binding estate document that sets forth your wishes for who your personal property and assets will be distributed to after you die. You can also do a declaration of tutorship to designate who you desire to care for your minor children.
Some decisions to make for wills include:
A trust is an instrument used to hold your assets and property independently from personal ownership. In a trust, the individual named as trustee, manages and holds property or assets for another person, called the beneficiary. Trusts can be used for various purposes, such as avoiding probate, saving on taxes, and providing for loved ones with special needs.
When creating a trust, you will need to make decisions such as:
Powers of attorney are legal documents that give another person the authority to make significant financial and legal decisions on your behalf. There are two different types of powers of attorney: durable and nondurable. A durable power of attorney remains valid even if you become incapacitated, while a nondurable power of attorney expires once you are incapacitated.
Some things to consider when creating a power of attorney include:
A healthcare directive, also referred to as a living will, is a legally binding estate document that sets forth your wishes for healthcare if you become incapacitated. A healthcare directive can include things such as your preferences regarding artificial resuscitation and other treatments.
Some things to consider when creating a healthcare directive include:
Creating an estate plan is complex, but it is important to have one in case of unexpected circumstances. By taking the necessary time to understand your legal options and make meaningful decisions, you can give yourself and your loved ones the protection they need in the event of your passing.
An estate planning attorney can help you create an estate plan that meets your unique needs and objectives. The first step is to inventory your assets. This includes both your physical property, such as your home and personal belongings, and your financial assets. This includes savings accounts, stocks, and bonds. Once you have a comprehensive picture of your assets, you can start to decide how you would like them to be distributed after your death. An estate planning attorney can offer advice on the best way to structure your estate plan so that your wishes are carried out to your specifications.
You should also consider making provisions for health care and end-of-life decisions in your estate plan. An estate planning attorney can educate you on all the options available for selection and ensure that your health care directive is legally binding.
Lastly, an attorney in Baton Rouge can help you update your estate plan as life circumstances change. For example, if you get divorced or have children, you may want to make changes based on the shift in family dynamics. Working with an estate planning attorney allows you to create an estate plan that gives you peace of mind, knowing that your affairs are in order.
Many people delay making an estate plan because they assume it will be too costly. However, the costs of not having a plan can be much greater. Without a well-crafted estate plan, your assets may be distributed in ways that you never intended, and your loved ones could suffer a heavy financial burden. Fortunately, there are various estate planning options available, and the cost will vary depending on the complexity of your situation. For example, a simple will can often be completed for a few hundred dollars, while a trust or other more complex arrangement may cost several thousand. Ultimately, the cost of estate planning is a small upfront obligation to achieve peace of mind and protect your loved ones.
If you need assistance creating an estate plan, Magnolia Law can help. We understand the importance of protecting your loved ones and assets and will work directly with you to create a plan that meets your unique needs. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.