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Have any plans for today? How about tomorrow? I’m guessing that you know pretty well what you’ll be doing for the next few days. Perhaps you’ve even given some thought to the next few years, or even decades. But when do those plans become more than just a passing thought and become reality? Whether in the short run or the long term, if you don’t make plans for your life, your life will make plans for you. Of course, we can’t plan for every contingency or unexpected event, and sometimes things we don’t plan for turn out better than we could have ever imagined. It is also possible, however, that a lack of planning could lead to a situation you could have avoided.

Let’s say you take a trip without booking a hotel room. You might get lucky and find a place to stay that night, but then again, there could be a convention going on, and there’s no room for you at the inn. Then what? If your decision only affected you, you might not be too concerned, but what if your lack of planning affects your spouse, children, parents, or other loved ones? That’s an entirely different story.

The same is true for estate planning. When it comes to your family’s future and well-being, you cannot afford to take chances. If you have not made a plan to protect your family after you are gone, now is the time to do so. For assistance in bringing your plan to life, contact our Riverview wills and trusts lawyer, Reggie Osenton, right now to arrange a free consultation with no strings attached.

Riverview Wills & Trusts Lawyer

Estate Planning 101: The Essentials

Every good estate plan has the same basic features, like a will, trust, and power of attorney, that most people think of when they think of estate planning. The difference between a good plan and a great plan, however, is in the details. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key elements of a great estate plan:

  • A will is a legally binding declaration outlining your desired outcome for your assets and belongings upon your passing. Who receives what in the absence of a will is determined by the state.
  • A trust is a legal arrangement in which you transfer ownership of your property to a trustee. The trustee then holds the property on behalf of a beneficiary.
  • A power of attorney allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters if you are unable to do so yourself.
  • A healthcare directive is a document that allows you to express your wishes for medical care if you are unable to communicate them.
  • A beneficiary designation is a written instruction to a bank, retirement plan, or insurance company to name someone to receive the benefits of an account after you die.
  • A letter of instruction is a non-binding document that gives guidance to your executor or family members, including instructions with respect to funeral arrangements, debts, passwords, and other important details.
  • A guardianship designation expresses your desire for whom you want to take care of your children in the event of your death.
  • And more!

What Happens If You Don’t Have An Estate Plan?

In the absence of a plan expressing your desires to pass on your inherent wealth, someone, namely a probate court acting on behalf of the state, will determine how your property is to be distributed after your death. Naturally, completing this will take time, money, and effort, and it will also negatively affect your family. Furthermore, if you do not have a formal plan designating a guardian for your minor children, there is a possibility that they will wind up in foster care.

After all of the delays, headaches, and costs of probate court, your estate will eventually be distributed to your heirs, but this could take months or even years. Even after all of that, it is unlikely the probate court will distribute your assets in the manner you intended, which is why it is so important to have a plan in place to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Only you can avoid these pitfalls by creating a plan with an experienced Riverview wills and trusts lawyer that expresses your desires and wishes.

Osenton Law: Your Go-To Estate Planning Law Firm 

If you’ve read this far, perhaps you are beginning to realize the seriousness of not having a plan in place for your loved ones. That being said, you have not taken any concrete steps to safeguard your family until you sit down and do so. We would be happy to talk with you about any remaining questions you may have regarding your next course of action. Give us a call at no cost before making any decisions, and we will try our best to answer any questions you may have. Call Osenton Law, P.A., today, and let’s discuss your options.

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