Estate planning is the process of preparing for the management and protection of your assets should you fall ill or pass away. It is a critical part of preserving your estate and legacy, especially since your assets could become immobilized or fall into the state’s hands if you do not have the right plan. A properly drafted estate plan will ensure your assets can be managed if you become incapacitated and that descendants and beneficiaries receive what you intend for them.
To ensure all your assets are properly cared for, it is essential to enlist the help of an experienced North Carolina estate planning attorney. A qualified estate planning attorney can help you:
- Prepare a Last Will and Testament. Your Last Will and Testament dictates how your assets are distributed after you die. It is also a good place to nominate the guardians (back-up “parents”) of your minor children if they are orphaned. This legal document can help your estate’s probate process go smoothly, as well as protect your property, assets, and children.
- Create a Trust. There are many different types of trusts, and these documents are more involved than a will. Typically, a trust involves at least three parties: the trust-maker (Settlor), the trust manager (Trustee), and the trust beneficiary (or beneficiaries). A trust can help your estate avoid or minimize the probate process, help decrease tax burdens, or protect property you leave to others.
- Draft Powers of Attorney. Unlike a will or trust, powers of attorney give another person, or agent, the authority to make decisions upon your illness or incapacity. Our attorneys draft powers of attorney to cover healthcare decision-making as well as financial management.
- Manage Digital Assets. Digital assets you own, such as online accounts in your name, digital files, financial accounts, and more, need to be managed just like physical assets. With an attorney’s help, you can create a digital estate plan to give your family access to your online accounts and digital devices in the event of illness or after your death.
You might not think you need estate planning now, but it’s an important part of your life regardless of your age. By taking control while you are able, you ensure that your wishes are respected and followed in the future.
If you still have questions about estate planning, you aren’t alone. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
What does an estate planning attorney do?
An estate planning attorney provides qualified legal counsel and advice about how you should create your estate plan. Your attorney will also determine which documents you need to draft and help you identify your long-term goals and financial requests. Then your attorney will draft these legal documents according to your specific wishes.
Your attorney should be trustworthy and skilled in estate planning, able to tackle difficult topics like illness and death, as well as complex financial issues. Many estate attorneys also have extra experience in mentoring, client counseling, and other training.
Can I do estate planning myself?
The short answer is yes, you can. But should you?
Unfortunately, many people who attempt estate planning on their own create more problems for their family down the road. Without legal assistance, you could make mistakes on your documents or improperly file paperwork. A lawyer can help you make absolutely sure that your family knows your wishes and will not end up disappointed in probate after your passing.
Is an estate planning attorney necessary?
An estate attorney is necessary if you want an estate plan that is clear, futureproof, and reflective of your unique wishes. An estate attorney could also help your family stay out of the expensive process of probate after your passing, since all your paperwork will be clear and up-to-date with your requests.
Working with an estate planning attorney is an important and very necessary investment. By investing in an estate planning attorney now, you could save thousands of dollars and hours in the future.
To begin working with a qualified estate planning attorney in North Carolina today, contact the Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC office by phone at (910) 777-5734 and schedule your first, fully confidential consultation.