What is an estate plan? It is a collection of legal documents that gives you control over what happens to you, your assets and any dependents you may have if you become disabled or when you die. The plan can include a will, power of attorney forms, trusts and more. Estate planning is what our Beck, Lenox & Stolzer Estate Planning and Elder Law founder, Rudy Beck, started doing when he opened his practice 48 years ago!
KRDO’s recent article entitled “An estate plan is the best way to plan for the worst. Here’s how to create one” says that having an estate plan is like carrying the umbrella for the inevitable rainy day.
A will. This is a written statement of who should get a deceased person’s assets. A will can also name who will assume guardianship of minor children. The requirements for a will to be deemed valid vary state to state. You should consult with an experienced attorney to make certain that yours is legally binding. Without a will, state intestacy laws govern who receives your assets.
Power of attorney. A health care power of attorney form grants permission for someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. The financial power of attorney names a person to manage your finances should you be unable to yourself.
Trusts. A trust is an agreement to hold assets for the benefit of another person. Parents create trusts to ensure their assets are properly allocated to their children. Without a trust, the children might inherit all the money at once.
Life events — like turning 18 and going to college, getting married, changing careers, or moving states — often trigger legal needs. Pregnancy is also a good time to begin the process. Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your documents are legally correct. In addition, you should meet with your attorney to review your documents every few years.
Here’s a homework assignment for you: Carefully consider who you want to act on your behalf, if needed; who should handle distribution of your assets when you are gone, and who you want as your heirs. Once you make those decisions, schedule time with an estate planning attorney like the ones at Beck, Lenox & Stolzer. You can reach us through our website or by phone at 636-946-7899. Don’t wait any longer.
Reference: KRDO (Sep. 16, 2022) “An estate plan is the best way to plan for the worst. Here’s how to create one”