Your estate planning attorney uses wills and estate plans to cover the transfer of property at death and various other personal matters. And every person has specific needs that they need to address. While many believe you must have valuable assets for estate planning, that’s not the case. At Bolinger Law, we encourage everyone to take the time to put affairs in order. Because failing to address these concerns can result in legal complications, including court intervention.
At a minimum, every person should have the following in their estate plan:
- Will – States how your assets will be distributed after your death. Also, a will can designate who will care for your children. Failure to prepare a will usually leave decisions about your estate to state officials or judges and may cause family rifts.
- Power of Attorney – Gives authorization to one person to act for another. Depending on how your attorney constructs the document, the authorized person can have broad or limited authority to make medical care, finances, and property decisions.
- Advanced Directive (Living Will) – Explains how you want medical decisions made about you if you cannot make decisions yourself. As a result, it provides a valuable guide for your healthcare team and loved ones. Also, advanced directives only apply to healthcare decisions and vary from state to state.
Additional Estate Planning Considerations
Depending on your circumstances, the following are additional sections for an estate plan:
- Guardianship (or conservatorship) – Designates a person to make decisions about another person and/or property. Because guardianship removes the rights of an individual, you should consider it only after other alternatives have proven ineffective or are not available.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Identical to a power of attorney (see above), a durable power of attorney has powers that remain in effect after the onset of a disability.
- Trusts – Gives another party the right to hold another’s title to a property or asset. And you can use trusts to provide legal protection for your assets. Also, they ensure you can distribute your assets according to your wishes. As a result, trusts can save time and reduce paperwork.
Reviewing & Updating Estate Plan Documents
Once you have an estate plan, we recommend reviewing it regularly so that it says up to date. Typically, we recommend at least every three to five years. Or whenever there is a life event such as:
- Adoption or birth of a new grandchild and when they become an adult
- Change in the number of your dependents
- Changes in your financial goals
- Marriage or divorce
- Changes in life or long-term insurance coverage
- Large asset purchases
- Significant increases or decreases in asset values
- Alterations in federal or state laws covering investments and taxes
Rely on Bolinger Law Firm for Your Wills and Estate Plans
We have the expertise to guide you through the necessary documents for your will and estate plan. Contact us today for a free consultation or call us at 636-386-8322.
With a convenient location at 14615 Manchester Road, our clients come from St. Louis, Chesterfield, Wildwood, Earth City, Maryland Heights, Ellisville, Ballwin, Manchester, and other parts of the St. Louis region.