Estate planning is vital for individuals of all ages. Regardless of the extent of your financial holdings, you should have some type of legal documentation that distributes your assets when you die.
Creating a standard estate plan can help your family avoid significant challenges when handling your affairs if you pass away unexpectedly. Let’s look at some effective estate planning strategies.
4 Common Estate Planning Strategies That Work
Most of the problems associated with death can be solved with a standard estate planning package. Here are some essential documents that should be part of an effective estate planning strategy.
A last will and testament follows your personal wishes of how you want your belongings and assets distributed when you pass away. Once the probate process begins, the court will go over your will to determine the document’s legality. A probate judge will approve the appointment of a personal representative to help manage your estate. The personal representative will first need to sell or transfer any real estate, handle your outstanding bills, and pay off any other taxes or debts. Then they will use your will to distribute your assets and belongings according to your wishes.
2. Revocable Trust
Many estate planning strategies use a living trust to help distribute your assets. Living trusts are beneficial because they help your heirs and beneficiaries avoid the probate process. A trust is similar to a will, except you designate a trustee to take over the trust when you die. A revocable trust can be changed or dissolved while you are alive. If you want a faster, less expensive way to transfer your assets, a trust is an efficient strategy. Trusts also help those with minor children or beneficiaries better manage the handling of their assets.
3. Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney is a legal document. When you create a will or trust, your probate attorney will typically help you prepare a financial power of attorney. This authorizes a third party to act in your name for legal and financial matters.
4. Healthcare Power of Attorney
Like a financial power of attorney, creating a healthcare power of attorney is an integral part of the estate planning process. When an individual becomes incapacitated and incapable of making rational healthcare decisions, a healthcare power of attorney is necessary. A healthcare power of attorney names someone you trust to speak on your behalf if you are incapable of speaking for yourself. Healthcare powers of attorney are essential for those who end up in a coma or with a terminal condition. They can also be necessary if you are in an unexpected accident that leaves you incapacitated.
Create an Effective Estate Plan with a Trustworthy Probate Attorney
Regardless of what’s involved in your estate plan, it’s vital to have the proper legal documentation necessary to execute your plan. Your probate attorney will help you create the best plan for your situation based on your financial assets and belongings.
If you would like to discuss your estate planning strategy with an experienced Lancaster probate attorney, we’re here to help! Contact Derryberry & Associates to schedule a free consultation.