Tupelo Estate Planning Lawyers Providing Legal Services and Advice to Help Clients Preserve Their Wealth for the Next Generations in Tupelo, MS
It may be hard to imagine what could happen to your loved ones and your assets in the future when you are no longer around to help them. However, taking the necessary steps now to ensure their financial well-being is safe no matter what tomorrow may bring is essential and can help you enjoy more peace of mind. Learn the key aspects of estate planning and how it can be instrumental in helping you safeguard the future of your loved ones.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a set of documents, tools, and strategies that can work together to help preserve your wealth and assets and pass them on to the next generation according to your wishes. In addition, estate planning can help you accomplish other goals, which may include reducing your estate tax liability, keeping your assets out of probate, and protecting your estate from external threats such as debt collectors and Medicaid estate recovery.
Effective estate planning is done by taking into consideration your individual goals. Because every person and every estate is unique, estate planning can look different for everyone. For example, a friend of yours may have chosen to start a living trust to keep her assets out of probate, but you may find a trust is too costly for you and other alternatives may be a better choice. An estate planning attorney is a great resource to help guide you through the process of building your estate plans.
What Kind of Documents Should Be Included in My Estate Plans?
Regardless of what your estate planning goals may be, there are a few essential documents recommended for most estate plans. If you are at the beginning of the estate planning process and unsure about what to work on first, you may want to look into getting a last will, as well as a living will and a power of attorney.
Your last will is a legal document where you may record your wishes for how your assets should be divided after you pass away, and it includes a list of your beneficiaries, details about what each beneficiary should receive, and also a named executor for your estate. You may also include guardian designations for your minor children. On the other hand, your living will contain your wishes for how you would like to be treated if you are still alive but incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. You may record your wishes for the type of healthcare you want to receive, your preferences for doctors and hospitals, and even personal choices concerning life support and end-of-life care, including funeral preferences.
A power of attorney can be general or specific, but it authorizes someone to make decisions and carry out certain transactions on your behalf. Your power of attorney document can be specific for healthcare decisions, financial decisions, or any other actions you would like someone to take on your behalf should you become incapacitated. These are just some examples of basic estate planning documents you may want to have – speak to an attorney to learn if there are additional estate planning documents or strategies that you may also benefit from.
Do I Need Estate Plans Even if I Am Not Wealthy?
While the wealthier individuals in our society are often making headlines concerning their estate planning issues and family conflicts over inheritances, estate planning is not something reserved only for the rich. Estate planning is not so much about the size of your estate and how much money or how many assets you may have, but it is about having a written, legal record of your wishes for what should happen to whatever you own once you pass away.
Without estate plans, anything you have accumulated over your lifetime may end up in the hands of a judge who will then decide how your assets will be divided based on intestacy laws. In addition, if you have minor children, it will be up to the judge to decide who will care for them. You will also have no way of letting your loved ones know what should happen in case you are still alive but incapacitated. Even if you have a modest estate, it is best to take care of writing your estate planning documents sooner than later, so you can give yourself and your family more peace of mind and focus on living life to the fullest without worrying about the future.
When Should I See an Estate Planning Attorney?
Consulting with an estate planning attorney can be a great starting point for anyone thinking about writing their estate plans for the first time. Your attorney can help you by analyzing your current situation, including an overall picture of your current financial situation and assets you own and how your family is currently made up. You can also discuss your estate planning goals and get answers to all of your questions.
While there are plenty of online tools promising to give you a template for common estate planning documents, those options can be risky and may not work for your unique circumstances. An estate planning attorney can also assist with writing your estate planning documents, making sure they are correct, valid, and will work as intended when you need them to, potentially avoiding common yet costly mistakes.
At Rundlett Law Firm, PLLC, our estate planning attorneys are focused on helping each client create customized estate plans that fit their needs and can help them preserve their wealth and pass on their assets to the next generation. We have assisted countless clients in Tupelo, MS, and the vicinity to prepare their estate plans with confidence and ease, removing complexities and guiding them through the entire process. If you need to start working on your estate plans or are ready to update them, reach out to our office by calling (662) 502-5195 and requesting an initial consultation to speak to one of our estate planning attorneys and get the solid, clear guidance you are looking for.