Estate planning requires legal expertise
Anyone who has an estate — of whatever size — should know about estate planning. There is more to making out your will than making a list of everything you have and writing down who gets what. If your will is not properly written, some of its provisions may conflict with others, placing your heirs in a difficult position in their attempts to follow through on your wishes.
If you made out your will ten or twenty years ago, you will probably wish to update it to reflect changes in your circumstances. Remember that your will is not going to be officially seen as recorded until after you die and are unavailable to settle any disagreements. Do not simply download a will form from a Web page and consider your work done. Seek out the services of an estate planning attorney who knows how to help you write a will in clear and legally binding language.
If you want to begin settling your estate while you are still alive and of sound mind, you should also know about trusts. Placing an asset in an irrevocable trust moves it out of your control entirely. The asset is no longer part of your estate, although if it produces income you may still receive it. If you do this five years or more before entering a nursing home or applying for Medicaid, you avoid an eligibility penalty. An estate planning attorney can help you use this to distribute your assets in a way most beneficial to your heirs.
A revocable trust is different from a will, and more flexible. All of the assets you place in a revocable trust continue to belong to you, and you can change or revoke your trust if you ever wish to do so. You can name whoever you like as a trustee. If you are incapacitated, the trustee you named continues to manage your assets while they remain in your name. In the event of your death, the assets in this trust are not necessarily distributed right away — they can be left in the management of your agent for a set amount of time. More to the point, these assets do not go through the long and expensive process of probate. An estate planning attorney can help you draw up a revocable trust.
Charlotte NC Estate planning attorneyC
Robert C. Whitt, Charlotte attorney, servicing the areas of Mount Holly, Charlotte, Gastonia and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on estate planning and other areas of the legal process that especially affect the elderly. If you need help with estate planning, call his office today.