There are two things you should keep in mind when you’re considering making your estate plan. First, remember that it’s never too late to get started, and second, you can never ask too many questions.
With that, what are the questions seniors often ask when getting started with the estate planning process?
How Does Estate Planning Help Me?
The simplistic view of estate planning is that it is the process of getting all your ducks lined up. With the help and advice of an estate planning lawyer, you get to specify how your money and property are managed during and after your death.
This method of planning can also include your specifications as to the kind of medical care you would prefer in the event of disability. An estate plan can lay out who will care for your dependents upon your death.
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer to Write a Will?
Technically, you do not need a lawyer to write your estate plan. There are many resources on and offline that can assist you in writing up all the necessary documents. If done right, this option can be a simple solution that helps you plan the basics.
With that said, DIY preparation is not recommended. If you don’t include certain legal formalities, your estate plan could be declared invalid, or it could be contested in probate.
The best way to prevent this is to have an estate planning legal professional, like those at Wilson Law Group, LLC, help you write your plan. If you do choose to create a plan on your own, you might have a lawyer look it over when you’re done to ensure that everything is correct.
There are a number of reasons why you may benefit from the help of a lawyer draw up your estate plan. You may have a blended family or complicated family dynamics for which you want to specify who is included as beneficiaries.
If you are a business owner, if you have a lot of assets that involve multiple states or you think your will may be contested in probate court, you may find comfort in directing your affairs with the help of a lawyer.
At What Age Should Seniors Contact an Estate Planner?
There is no set age upon which someone should take their estate planning seriously. If at age 60 you got started, then you are ahead of most others.
A lot of people don’t even consider it until they reach retirement age. However, the longer you wait, the more of a risk you are taking.
There are some who stand behind their judgment that such planning should really start as young adults, and we can expect to see more movement on this in the future. All that said, it is never too late to take your financial health as seriously as you would your physical health.
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What if You Don’t Do Your Estate Planning?
Without your input in the legal form of finalized documents, decisions about your medical care, the division of property, and even your final arrangements all can be made in ways you don’t agree with.
The hospitals that treat people who don’t have an estate plan or next of kin will make medical decisions for you. Probate court, as it drags on, will decide the hierarchy of survivors and designate assets from your estate to settle any outstanding debts first.
Final arrangements are typically carried out in accordance with the inclinations of relatives. With the help of an estate planning lawyer, you can minimize if not eliminate the cost of probate and estate taxes.
You may have a lot to decide about your life’s accumulation of property and assets. By properly taking care of your wealth, you can protect your heirs and loved ones for the future. A qualified estate planner can sit down with you to ensure that there are no mistakes and that nothing gets overlooked.
Image Credit: estate planning process by envato.com
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