I get a lot of questions. So, I want to share some of them and their answers.
Below are frequently asked general questions. Continue scrolling down to read the answers.
We Know We Need Wills and Documents, What Do I Need to Do?
Every person and every situation is unique. There are many best practices, common strategies, and good advice for many to follow. However, information is power. You should seek and get as much information as you can. You should also find and follow sound legal counsel. Estate Planning is not just getting documents, it involves much more. The counsel you receive from a licensed estate planning attorney will save you and your estate, both monetarily and better living. Sickness and death are difficult to deal with. Make sure you are prepared with the essential documents and other specific documents that will meet your needs and goals. For more information CLICK HERE.
Won't My Spouse Automatically Get Everything?
No, unless you put the right documents in place. If this is your goal, the law requires you to take a couple proactive steps to make it happen and be automatic. Otherwise, the law dictates how your assets are divided upon your death. And if you are survived by parent(s) or child(ren), your spouse will share with them. Even if you are survived only by a spouse, and not a parent or child, your spouse may not automatically get all you had. Your spouse will likely have to go through a court probate process to get it. If you've ever worked with the court system you know nothing is automatic or fast. Proper planning and using the right documents can allow your spouse to skip the court system and automatically have everything. For more information CLICK HERE.
What Health Care Documents Do We Need?
Minimally, everyone needs a Health Care Power of Attorney. And I strongly recommend a HIPAA Authorization form. These documents allow you to control who makes important and personal healthcare decisions when you can't do so for yourself. Without these documents health care providers are not legally required to listen to, follow instruction from, or give information to your trusted person or people in your life, like your spouse, parents, children, or others. For more information CLICK HERE.
How to Avoid Confusion when I Die? How Do We Make Sure Our Wishes Are Clear?
You need 3 things to avoid confusion: 1) An Executed Plan, 2) Accessible Important Documents, and 3) A Conversation. After figuring out what you want to happen, you must have the legal documents signed and follow through on the instructions required to use and share the documents properly. All your important documents and information must be accessible to those you put in charge. And finally, I believe it is best to have a conversation with those involved so they will have heard the plan before they read and execute it. This conversation can be as detailed or superficial as you feel it needs to be. For more information CLICK HERE.
What Is the Best Way to Transfer Our Wealth/Assets to Our Children?
It depends. The following are several considerations for which you should account in order to determine the best way for you.
Your children's ages
Where your children live
Your children's ability to manage money, particular the amount they will be inheriting
Whether your children are married, and whether you like/trust their spouses
My children's ability to settle my estate
How busy are my children, do they have time to go through probate?
What do I want to preserve or protect for them?
For more information CLICK HERE.
How to Keep My Affairs Private?
To many people, this is important. The best way for privacy is to avoid probate! Our legal system is public. Probate is a major part of the legal system. Everything filed becomes a part of public record. This means the “nosy neighbor” can easily find out what you left, how much you left, and to whom you left it. Using a Trust keeps your affairs private. Trust assets are not probated and therefore are kept private. For more information CLICK HERE.
Are My Estate Planning Documents Still Good if They Are More than 5 Year's Old?
Maybe, maybe not. It really depends on 2 things: 1) has life changes such that your documents no longer reflect your wishes or will no longer achieve your goals? Or 2) have the laws changes such that my current documents are no longer effective? It is best to review your documents and have them reviewed by a licensed estate planning attorney who listens to your current goals and objectives. We don't know when life happens or when laws will change. The solution is to have an ongoing relationship with an estate planning law firm. For more information CLICK HERE.
I Am Worried My Old Will or Trust May Not Hold up Or Meet My Wishes and Goals, What Should I Do?
Read your Will or Trust to become reacquainted. I wished that worked for everyone, but unfortunately I've met many people that it doesn't. If you are worried, you need a check-up. Like when you have a nagging ailment, it is best to have a medical professional to talk to and get help if needed. When you're worried about your Will or Trust, you need to talk to a legal professional. A document review and conversation for an experienced estate planning attorney doesn't take long and won't be expensive. I believe it is best to have your “eyes wide-open” so you and your family aren't surprised or shocked. For a complimentary review CLICK HERE.
What Do I Do After a Loved One Dies?
This is not a short answer and deserves further discussion elsewhere. Additionally, every situation is unique. The range of things to do after a loved dies goes from the funeral home to transferring stocks. It includes stopping bills, notifying Social Security, dealing with end of life expenses, making life insurance claims, cancelling insurance policies, and administrating the estate. Many people run into brick wall after brick wall. Most people don't think as clearly or as sharply as they grieve. And this is normal and expected. If good planning was done, follow the instructions left behind. And it is best to consult with an attorney to avoid problems, brick walls, delays, and costly mistakes. For more information CLICK HERE.