Despite what many in Wilmington, DE, and our larger society might believe, estate planning is not something reserved for the wealthy. Anyone with any amount or quality of assets can access estate planning. You incredibly benefit if you do, as do your loved ones. Proactively preparing your estate before something happens is the best way to ensure your desired beneficiaries are the actual beneficiaries of your life’s work and receive your assets as efficiently as possible.
Estate planning does not have to be as inaccessible as many commonly perceive. The estate planning lawyers at Kollias Law hope to dispel some of the misperceptions you may have with this straightforward estate planning checklist. We also hope it encourages you to get started by preparing estate planning documents sooner rather than later.
Will Or Trust
A will is a document that conveys how you want assets allocated upon your death. They can also denote how minor children you have are to be cared for after you can no longer do so.
Your will or trust will very likely be the most significant aspect of your estate plan. Although not entirely foolproof, it is the best way to ensure your assets are handled as you desire, assuming it is written in compliance with state laws and clearly conveys your wishes. It is essential there are no discrepancies with who you list as your beneficiaries here and elsewhere, as this can cause issues for these individuals later.
Do not force your loved ones to have to wait for assets to be released from a freeze before they can access them. Get your will in order as soon as possible to ensure this does not happen.
Letter Of Intent
A letter of intent is a document you leave to your executor or a beneficiary that instructs them of what you want done with a specific asset. These do not technically hold any weight legally but can still serve to inform the probate judge of your wishes. With this, the judge can align how they allocate your assets if issues surrounding your will arise that prevent it from being exercised.
Power Of Attorney
Having a power of attorney in place enables another to act legally on your behalf when you cannot, either because of unforeseen impairment or death. Courts become arbiters of your assets and important decisions if you do not have power of attorney established. Power of attorney bestows the person you designate with the ability to enter into financial or real estate agreements or transactions, in addition to other things. Ensure your wishes are carried out by someone you trust with setting up a power of attorney today.
Healthcare Power Of Attorney
Healthcare power of attorney is similar to power of attorney. However, it is generally applicable to a family member when decisions about your health need to be made, but you cannot make them yourself.
In addition to these documents, it is imperative you maintain consistent beneficiaries across all assets or accounts that have one. Your will may not cover or apply to some of your assets or accounts, such as an insurance plan. Failing to keep this in order may very well mean your loved one does not receive what you wanted them to. If your beneficiaries are not 21 or older and mentally able, you risk getting the courts involved anyway. Do not make this mistake.
Kollias Law can help you navigate all the peculiarities associated with estate planning in Wilmington, DE. We can answer all your questions and walk you through the process.
The charges of an estate planning lawyer to prepare estate planning documents may be expensive. However, they are likely much less than what your loved one will have to undergo – or completely miss out on – if you do nothing. Ensure your loved ones do not miss out on the fruits of your labor or get caught up in the courts after you pass on. Get started with this estate planning checklist today before it is too late.