Nobody enjoys thinking about what will happen to their property and possessions after they pass away, let alone making formal plans for that inevitable point in time. However, ensuring you have a thorough and legally enforceable plan for your estate following your death can be crucial to preserving your personal wishes and saving your loved ones a great deal of emotional and financial stress.
Assistance from a Mount Laurel estate planning lawyer could help preserve your own best interests and the financial security of your chosen beneficiaries. Once retained, your dedicated trusts and estates attorney could guide you through each step of the planning process and make sure your final plan is as comprehensive as possible.
Establishing Instructions for Property Distribution
Drafting a last will and testament is central to the estate planning process, as the instructions in this document will supersede all other directives in the estate plan if there is any contradiction. This document can broadly address most elements of a comprehensive estate plan, including naming beneficiaries, nominating an estate executor, and identifying which pieces of property should go to which beneficiaries.
However, all estate property that is distributed based on instructions on a will, or even based on state law in the absence of a will, must go through probate before beneficiaries can take possession of it. Probate is a lengthy court process that requires the accurate valuation of all estate assets and the payment of debts owed by the decedent, meaning it can drag out estate administration for months.
A Mount Laurel estate planning attorney could provide crucial assistance with drafting an enforceable will and minimizing the impact that probate will have on a will’s eventual execution. In many cases, this involves placing certain assets into trusts, exempting them from probate and potentially producing other benefits like reductions in tax obligations.
Advance Healthcare and Financial Directives
In addition to property concerns, a comprehensive estate plan should include directions for what kind of medical treatment and end-of-life care a testator wants to receive if they become incapacitated prior to their death. This is often accomplished by drafting a “Living Will,” which generally involves granting someone “power of attorney” over the testator.
When someone has power of attorney over another person, they have full legal authority to make decisions on that person’s behalf regarding healthcare matters, financial and/or business interests, or both. An estate planning lawyer in Mount Laurel could go over this process and other options for incorporating advance directives into an estate plan during a private consultation.
Seek Help from a Mount Laurel Estate Planning Attorney
When it comes to protecting your property, your financial assets, and your family’s wellbeing, it is always worth taking the time to make a plan in advance and ensure that it is legally enforceable long before it ever needs to be administered.
Guidance from a knowledgeable Mount Laurel estate planning lawyer could make this uncomfortable process much more manageable and productive. To schedule a meeting with a legal professional, call today.