In today’s blog post in our ongoing series on basic estate planning questions, we are going to take a brief step back and look at the broader question of what a basic estate plan looks like. If you’ve been reading along in this series you know that there is no single estate plan that will fit everyone’s needs. All plants need to be individually tailored to the person making it. Nevertheless, most estate plans in North Carolina will rely on the same basic tools to accomplish the primary goals. Here’s what you should know about a basic estate plan.
What will I include in my basic estate plan?
Most people who create an estate plan will include a handful of essential documents. The first of these is the last will and testament. The most basic, and essential, estate planning tool around, a will gives you the ability to make various types of choices that will take effect after you die.
Since a will addresses issues that take place after you die, the next basic estate planning tool you will need to create is the power of attorney. Through a properly drafted powers of attorney you can appoint others as your legal representatives. These people, known as your agents or your attorneys-in-fact, will be able to make decisions on your behalf in any capacity you deem appropriate. Your agent can begin acting on your behalf whenever you like, though most people choose to give their agents their authority to make decisions only after becoming incapacitated.
Speaking of incapacitation, your estate plan will also include tools that address what you want to happen should you lose your ability to communicate or make decisions. Advance medical directives, as well as powers of attorney, will allow you to take control over what happens to you if you lose your mental capacity.
Beyond these essential tools, your plan will also likely include a revocable living trust. The living trust will allow you more flexibility when making inheritance choices, and allow you to maintain your estate planning efforts in a mostly private manner.
How long does it take to create a basic estate plan?
That depends on the type of plan you need to create, your situation, and your ability to stick to a schedule. No one can force you to create an estate plan, and until you speak to an estate planning attorney, you don’t really know exactly what your plan might need to include. If you want to get started on creating a basic estate plan in Greensborro, North Carolina, contact the Law offices of Cheryl David as soon as possible so we can help you begin.