Why Do I Need an Attorney?
You might believe you are perfectly capable of forming your own estate plan if your affairs are straightforward. There are many packaged estate planning tools available for you to use online, but these operate on a template basis. You could overlook important options for estate planning that would suit your family better. A Folsom estate planning lawyer, on the other hand, has professional experience handling estate planning on behalf of many clients and can address your specific family needs. They have the experience to navigate the complexities of your case and provide an individually tailored estate plan in much greater detail than you could likely manage on your own.
Hiring an estate planning attorney ensures you have a responsible and reliable legal advocate who can handle the paperwork, research, and drafting processes on your behalf, answering your questions and providing guidance along the way. You can provide your Folsom estate planning attorney with an explanation of your preferences and wishes. They can draft them into an enforceable estate plan, potentially opening up opportunities for additional details and contingencies you may have overlooked on your own.
What Does an Estate Plan Do?
An estate plan is functionally a detailed set of instructions for the estate owner’s family to follow once the estate owner dies. This plan should provide instructions for use in the event of a medical emergency, incapacity, and final life support options. The estate plan should also include comprehensive instructions for handling your financial affairs and how to distribute inheritance gifts to your loved ones. If the estate plan is detailed, comprehensive, and clear in its instructions, then the family could swiftly manage the departed’s affairs and move on to grieve in peace. However, if the deceased had no estate plan, the family must initiate the probate process, and questions of property disbursement and intestate succession will hinge on state law and the discretion of a probate judge.
Probate is notoriously difficult for many reasons. Certain family members may have evidence to counteract claims made in an estate plan or evidence of disqualifying behaviors from beneficiaries named in the plan. State law tends to arrange beneficiary rights based on the closeness of the relationship to the deceased. Still, it is not uncommon for people to form close bonds with extended family members like cousins or second cousins. These individuals could have stronger personal ties to the deceased than the deceased’s own children in some cases, but strict state statutes will not take these personal factors into account. An estate plan ensures your wishes are carried out under your discretion, not a judge’s.
What Will My Estate Plan Include?
There are a few documents that every estate plan should include, but your estate plan should be uniquely tailored to your situation and lifestyle. A Living Will or Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) is a good idea for just about anyone. This document outlines your preferences when it comes to life saving medical treatment, life support, palliative care, and end-of-life decisions. If you become unresponsive, the AHCD can instruct your family on how you would like to proceed with medical care.