Let’s face it, oftentimes, many people believe estate planning seems like a process that isn’t meant for the average person. After all, aren’t estate planning, trusts, and all of the fancy legal terms associated with them reserved only for the uber wealthy? The Answer: Not necessarily – a knowledgeable attorney could explain the basics of estate planning, why it applies to everyone, the documents involved, and why an experienced Tempe trusts and estate lawyer can help you secure your future.
What is Estate Planning?
Simply put, estate planning is the process by which a person prepares a series of tasks to manage their assets and belongings if they pass away or are incapacitated. Assets can include all of your personal belongings, jewelry, vehicles, properties, paintings, and anything that you want to be distributed in a certain way. Estate planning also includes the ability to choose certain people to make decisions about everything from your businesses, property, and internet accounts, as well as mental and physical health in the event that you are incapacitated or pass away. So, you have freedom over how your belongings and assets are taken care of even if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself later on.
To put it simply, when you think of estate planning picture creating a plan on deciding who can make decisions for you when you can’t on your own (for example, while in hospital) as well as who gets what when I am no longer alive. Have children? Even more important is planning out who would take care of your children until they become adults if something were to happen to you. A competent trusts and estate attorney in Tempe could help address all of this in a person’s estate plan.
Who Should Create an Estate Plan?
Everyone. Life can be unpredictable, which means that everyone, no matter the amount of their wealth or assets, should try their best to plan ahead. In fact, if a person passes away without an estate plan, their estate can be distributed by probate court, a process that can often be impersonal and indifferent to what the person’s wishes were. A judge will make decisions for the person and their family according to local laws, and your assets can often be frozen until those decisions are made.
Additionally, the more complex and large a person’s assets and belongings are, the slower and more expensive the whole probate process tends to be. Even if you believe you have a smaller estate, you might be surprised when you add up real estate, account values, retirement plans, investments, and other things. At the end of the day, it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure their spouse, children, other family members, and even pets are taken care of in the event something happens to them, which means that estate plans are for everyone. A Tempe lawyer could further detail the advantages for everyone creating an estate plan with trusts.
What Does an Estate Plan in Tempe Entail?
Working with a well-versed attorney could steer someone in the direction of what elements they need for their estate plan.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney are the legal responsibilities you can give to a person of your choosing as mentioned earlier. There are several types: A financial power of attorney lets you choose from a wide range of powers that your chosen person can exercise, pay bills, such as paying taxes, running businesses, accessing internet accounts, and opening safes on your behalf. A mental health power of attorney allows the person to make decisions about your mental health care if you are mentally incapacitated, whereas a healthcare power of attorney document allows a person to make decisions on issues such as life-prolonging treatments.
A trust is an estate planning tool that helps you designate what happens to your belongings in the event of a person’s passing away or incapacitation. A revocable trust is created while the person who wants to create it is still alive, and keeps the distribution process out of probate court and leaves those decisions in the hands of the executor, who is the person you place in charge for carrying out the wishes in your trust.
A will, like a trust, is a document that lets you decide how certain powers and assets are distributed. However, the will and the associated property goes through probate court to be distributed. It’s generally considered good to have both a will alongside your trust, because a will can do things that a trust sometimes can’t, such as naming guardians for a person’s minor children if they pass away.
Contact a Tempe Estate Planning Attorney Today
As you can see, it’s never too early for anyone to start planning for their future. However, having the guidance of an experienced Tempe trusts and estate lawyer could be crucial to help you do so efficiently and in a watertight manner. Call the Law Offices of Brandon White for a free strategy session today.