Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions

At the Edwards Law Firm, we realize that creating an estate plan is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Not only does this provide you protection at the present time, but it will work in favor of your family upon your passing. Unfortunately, many people don’t know the first thing about the estate planning process. For this reason, they begin to make rash decisions, hoping that everything works out in the end. Rather than take this approach, it’s best to learn more about estate planning in general as well as the many laws that govern your situation.

As you review the following questions and answers, you’ll soon realize that creating an estate plan is not nearly as difficult as it sounds. With the right advice and tools on your side, you can create a successful plan that matches your wants and needs.

An estate plan is only for older individuals, right?

It is a common belief that you don’t have to think about estate planning until you hit the age of 50, or older. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, this is something you should begin to think about as soon as you accumulate your own assets. In some cases, this could mean the age of 18. Although your estate is likely to grow over time, you can make changes as necessary. The most important thing is that you always have an estate plan in place that reflects your wishes.

Is it best to wait until you amass more assets before creating an estate plan?

When you don’t have many assets to your name, such as when you are younger, it’s easy to believe that you don’t need an estate plan. But as noted above, this is something you should consider the moment you have assets in your own name. It makes sense that you would want to estate plan after amassing more assets, but that doesn’t mean you should wait. You never know what will happen as you get older and you continue to build your wealth. You want to make sure your estate is protected along the way, and the best way of doing so is with a comprehensive plan.

What’s wrong with the “do it yourself” approach to estate planning?

There is no denying the fact that estate planning can be a long and detailed process. Even so, this doesn’t mean you should rush through it in a “do it yourself” manner. It’s easy to believe that you can create your own estate plan, especially if you come across an online tool for creating a last will and testament. As tempting as this may be, you are better off contacting an experienced and reputable estate planning attorney. Remember, it only takes one mistake when creating an estate plan to make things difficult on your heirs upon your death.

Is a living trust better than a will?

Although a will could be the right estate planning document for you, it’s important to realize that a living trust provides a variety of benefits.

Some of the top advantages include:

  • A living trust avoids probate, thus saving your family time and money.
  • Transactions associated with a living trust are kept private, unlike those of a will.
  • A living trust can help save your heirs money in the future.

You will never know if a living trust is better than a will until you compare the pros and cons of both.

What is probate?

In short, probate is nothing more than a legal process that comes about when a person passes on. This is used to ensure that all of the decedent’s assets are accounted for, valued, and transferred to the appropriate party. Furthermore, probate also goes a long way in ensuring that creditors can file claims and all estate taxes are paid.

Is an incapacity plan necessary?

You create an estate plan because you want to protect your assets. But what are you doing to protect yourself in the event that you become incapacitated? With an incapacity plan in place, you will feel better about your care in the event that you are unable to make decisions on your own. This can help you address questions such as:

  • Who will make medical decisions if you are unable to do so?
  • Who will control your finances?
  • Will your family honor your wishes in regards to the type of medical treatment you want to receive at the end of your life?

An incapacity plan is a big part of an estate plan, so don’t forget to tackle this task.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney to Learn More

Regardless of your age or financial situation, there is a good chance that you need to create an estate plan. If you have any questions or require advice, you can contact us online or via phone at 904-215-3550. We look forward to serving you!

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