It’s not unusual for me to speak with a new customer who wants an estate plan made but is unsure what is included in that plan. Frequently, the client will begin the conversation by stating something like, “I’d want to have a testament… or should I set up a trust? Is there anything more I require?” Those are good questions to start a conversation with.
Most people are aware that their estate lawyers should include provisions for the disposition of their assets when they pass away. Of course, this is an important aspect of an estate plan, but a well-designed plan includes much more. You should also be prepared before consulting with your lawyer for the first time.
Prior to contact with your attorney for the first time, consider whom you want to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated; whether you want your doctor to keep you healthy if you are near death with little chance of survival; who you want to have the authority to sign important legal documents for you if you are unavailable; and who you want to raise your children if you suddenly die.
There are a number of particular situations that affect estate planning, but here are some things to think about before meeting with a lawyer to explore your own estate plan.
Is it better to have a will or a trust?
During a first encounter, this is usually one of the first questions clients ask. Many people are aware that a trust may help them avoid probate, but this is only true if the trust is properly funded, which means that all of their assets are transferred into it.
However, not every estate plan necessitates the use of a trust, and you may not need to spend the extra money to have your lawyer draught a trust if a will would suffice. And, contrary to popular belief, owning a trust does not exclude you from paying estate taxes.
If you are unlikely to gain further assets in the future, a trust may be the best option for you.
If you don’t expect to add to your assets in the next years, a trust may be the best option for you. However, it is not uncommon for people to form a trust and then purchase new assets that they overlook to include in the trust.
The property outside of the trust must then go through probate when they die, which negates the purpose of forming a trust in the first place. Take some time to analyze your future investing ambitions and large acquisitions before settling on trust as the leading factor of your estate strategy.
If you become incompetent, for example, your trustees will be able to handle your assets without the need for a court-appointed conservatorship. In this way, a trust agreement differs from a will in that it is more comprehensive and flexible.
Estate planning is more than determining who will inherit your assets once you pass away. It also entails making decisions about what should happen if you become extremely ill or handicapped.
An advance directive, often known as a living will, should be included in every estate plan. When you are unable to make a big decision for yourself, including end-of-life decisions, you can use this paper to designate a health care representative.
When you are unable to make a big decision for yourself, including end-of-life decisions, you can use this paper to designate a health care representative.
Similarly, we recommend that you grant a legal contract to a family member or supportive partner so that your nominated agent may manage your financial and commercial affairs if you are unable to do so. A durable power of attorney lasts as long as you do, and it should state that it will be functional even if you become incapacitated.
These assets will be distributed to people you have previously named as beneficiaries on these accounts outside of the probate procedure with such beneficiary designations. It is critical that you evaluate your recipient assignments to verify that your selection of beneficiaries is consistent with your current estate planning goals.
Before consulting with your estate planning attorney Chino, do a full examination of your portfolio and think about the concerns listed above. This will ensure that you get the most out of your discussion. It will also assist your attorney in focusing his or her discourse with you on the components of the procedure that are the most important to your objectives and requirements. Not only an estate planning attorney, you will also get a child custody attorney in Chino.