Wills, trusts and power of attorney
If you have any kind of estate at all, you need an estate plan, and you probably also need an estate planning attorney. An estate plan will do three things — let you maintain control over your assets as long as you are capable of doing so, care for you and your loved ones in accordance with your wishes when you are no longer capable of managing your assets yourself, and distribute your assets according to your wishes after your death. But it will only do these things if it is properly drawn up.
The first (but not the only) step in estate planning is, of course, to draw up your own will. According to a recent survey by the AARP, 71 percent of Americans over 34, and 40 percent of Americans of the Baby Boomer generation, have yet to take this step. Of those who do, too many simply download will forms off the Internet and fill them out, or make out wills properly but fail to update them. A will is something that needs to be worked on. Figure out your goals — providing for your children and grandchildren, caring for your spouse if he or she outlives you, giving to whatever causes or institutions you favor. Make a list of all your assets and all your debts. When you are done making out your will, choose someone to be the executor — someone who knows your estate and is willing and able to do the work.
You may also wish to set up a trust. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. Assets you put in a revocable trust still belong to you, and you can name anyone you see fit as trustee. If you are incapacitated, this trustee will make decisions in your name. Assets you put in an irrevocable trust are no longer part of your estate planning. This will be important if you ever need to accept Medicaid and go into a nursing home.
You may also wish to grant a power of attorney, either to take care of your financial affairs or to make health care decisions for you. It is particularly important that a financial power of attorney be drawn up correctly so that it has the proper legal language that will empower your agent to protect your assets.
Estate planning attorney in Gastonia, NC
All of these are things you will need help with from a professional. Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law, and can help with estate planning. Call and make an appointment today from estate planning attorney.