This guide answers some of the most frequently asked questions that come to estate planning. Of course, if you want to receive additional guidance in estate planning, James E. Johnson is a great resource!
Why is estate planning important?
When it comes to estate planning, it’s all about protecting your loved ones. In the past, the notion was that only the wealthy need estate plans. However, today, many middle-class families should prepare for when something happens to the household’s primary breadwinner(s). Without an estate plan, you won’t have any control over what happens to any stocks or real estate you may own. The decision will be left up to the courts. The process that the court goes through can take years, accrue fees, and get ugly.
By creating an estate plan, you can assign who will be the heir(s) of your assets based on your unique knowledge of your family. Estate planning and wills can also be very important if you have young children. Even though nobody wants to think about the possibility of dying young, it’s vital to make sure your little ones are taken care of. In a will, you can name their guardian in the instance that you pass away before they turn 18.
In addition to helping to reduce the stress of dividing assets and determining guardianship for minors, estate planning can also help reduce the tax burden for your beneficiaries.
If you would like help drafting up your estate plan, contact the law office of James Johnson Elder Law today!
What estate planning documents will I need?
Many documents should be part of your estate plan:
- Last Will and Testament
- Living Will
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Designation of Health Care Surrogate
- Declaration of Guardian (Preneed)
In addition, you may be interested in revocable or irrevocable trusts.
What estate planning mistakes should I avoid?
Every estate plan is unique, but often the same mistakes occur. Here are a couple of the most common mistakes made when estate planning. To avoid these problems, do your research and spend time working with a trusted attorney like James Johnson.
Not understanding the plan: If you are working with a planner to draft your estate plan, it is essential to be an active participant and to ask questions if you don’t understand something. You can also take notes about critical decisions so that you can reference them in the future.
Not updating asset ownership. In many cases, it can be useful to review and potentially revise your estate plan. Does the arrangement still meet your needs? Have things changed in your current situation or the law that may cause you to want a revision? If so, it might be good to revisit the asset ownership portion of your estate plan.
What do estate planning attorneys, like James E. Johnson, do?
Our firm works with clients as they make decisions and ultimately formulate their own estate plan, which our firm puts into action through drafting the necessary documents.