Life is filled with the unexpected. Often, our plans do not line up with what reality has in store, leaving our lives in shambles. Accidents occur, family members die, and in the midst of grief, fights between loved ones can create permanent tension within a family unit in Granbury.
Throughout any age, anxiety about the unknown can cause unneeded stress to arise in your life. Although you cannot control the future, you can get a better grasp on it so when tragedy does hit, you are prepared. One way to begin gaining control over your future is by beginning the estate planning process.
When you begin estate planning, you start by devising an organized, legal plan for after you die. Some matters that you may discuss with an experienced estate planning lawyer could include your specified wishes in regard to your health, children, finances, property, and other assets that you own.
Not every estate plan is going to look the exact same because every person who begins an estate plan has a different life and wishes. Depending on the individual, different matters may vary in importance. However, there are fundamental documents that almost every estate plan will contain.
- Power of Attorney: If there is ever a time when you are no longer able to make decisions on your own, whether for health reasons or mental inability, a power of attorney will empower a trusted individual to make these important decisions for you. If a power of attorney is not legally selected by you, the court has the authority to assign one for you. Declaring a power of attorney can thus give you peace of mind knowing that important matters, such as your health and finances, are taken care of.
- Last Will and Testament: A last will and testament allows you to create an estate administration plan for after you pass. In a last will and testament, you can also choose a trusted individual to administer your assets for you and assign someone to look after your children if they are not of age. Before assets in your last will and testament can be distributed, they must go through probate.
- Trusts: Unlike a last will and testament, if you decide to place your assets in a trust, the probate process will be bypassed. This means that when you die, there will be no delay in distributing your assets. Instead, your assets would go directly to their rightful heirs.
- Advanced Directive: Like a power of attorney, an advanced directive gives authority to another person to make decisions in your stead. However, an advanced directive specifically makes decisions regarding your life-sustaining or end-of-life decisions. Typically, you may make a list of terms that would declare when an advanced directive would be given authority over your medical decisions.
You may be wondering if creating an estate plan is really worth it for you. Young and healthy individuals often forego making an estate plan because they believe it is only necessary for older people, but in reality, an estate plan is helpful for any person with property, valuable assets, or children.
The many benefits of beginning the estate planning process include:
- Creating a Smoother Asset Distribution Process: Death can fuel conflict among loved ones. Emotions are high, and family members may be upset about the decision of the court. An estate plan comes directly from you, which can provide your family with solace knowing your wishes were met.
- Protection of Your Children: An estate plan protects your children from falling into the wrong hands if you suddenly pass away. Without an estate plan, the court makes this decision from the limited knowledge they have about your children and your family dynamic.
- Save Time by Avoiding Probate: After a family member passes, grieving is necessary, but unfortunately, if there is no estate plan, legal matters regarding the distribution of your estate may interrupt this grieving process by forcing your family to deal with legality. Creating a trust beforehand can save your family the time and stress that they would have to endure in court by avoiding probate.
- Protect Your Estate: If no estate plan is created, the court will distribute your estate themselves. The court does not take the time to understand your unique family dynamic, nor do they know your wishes. Your estate could fall into the wrong hands, and there would be little your family could do to prevent it.
Estate planning lawyers help with the legal issues involving estates and provide the peace of mind that you may not get if you are trying to complete this process on your own. It is easy for individuals to miss steps or get lost in complicated jargon found within legal documents. The last thing you want is for your wishes not to be met due to flaws within your legal documents. It is thus important to remember that estate planning attorneys are trained professionals who know how to navigate the complications within the legal system. They will get to know you as an individual and provide advice based on past experiences in the field. They will help you to fully complete each step of the process so no problems arise in the future. Therefore, you can continue living without the stress of the future.
There is no set figure for how much the estate planning process will cost, but the average cost to establish a power of attorney and a legal will and testament is around $1,500. Including a living trust in your estate plan tends to be more and may cost closer to $2,500.
If you or your loved one wishes to begin preparing for the future, our experienced team is looking forward to getting to know you and your story. Contact the Law Firm of William A. Walsh to begin carving a path to the future.