Why you will need help with your will and trust
When most people think of estate planning, the first thing they think of is somebody making out a will. It seems like a simple process — listing your assets and determining who gets what. This is why some people try to write their own wills or download will forms off the Internet.
But this is a mistake. You need an estate planning attorney to help you make out your will. Otherwise, some provisions of the will may conflict with others, creating exactly the sort of legal hassle most families want to avoid. And a will is not considered to be officially recorded until the person in question dies, so you need to resolve any ambiguities in the will while you are still around to do it. This is something an estate planning attorney can help you with. Properly written, a will does exactly what it is supposed to do — guide your heirs in the transfer of your assets after your death.
Trusts can be used to govern and protect your assets while you are still alive. By placing assets in an irrevocable trust five years before you plan to enter a nursing home or apply for Medicaid, you can avoid the imposition of sanctions. Placing your assets in a revocable trust can keep them out of the probate process.
Powers of attorney
When it comes to estate planning, the will is just the tip of the iceberg. Another aspect of it is delegating powers of attorney. Two types of powers of attorney you should know about are financial power of attorney and health care power of attorney.
Financial power of attorney, also known as durable power of attorney, is the power to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so. Drawing up this document is another area where you will need the help of an estate planning attorney, to make sure that it contains the right provisions for making gifts. Like wills and trusts, this is a way to protect your assets on behalf of your family.
Health care power of attorney is the power to make health care decisions on your behalf. Its most important role is in the enforcement of your living will. If you have decided that you do not wish to be kept alive at all costs and in all circumstances, it will be the job of your health care agent to make sure your wishes are respected.
An estate planning attorney in Charlotte NC
Robert C. Whitt, Charlotte attorney, servicing the areas of Charlotte, Gastonia Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He specializes in estate planning and other areas of the legal process that are of particular concern to the elderly. If you need help with estate planning, call today.