Everyone has an estate, regardless of whether you have a lot of money and regardless of your age. While many people mistakenly believe an estate plan is something needed only by the elderly or the wealthy, anyone with assets or loved ones or concern about their own future should have a comprehensive plan in place.
Creating an estate plan is about much more than creating a will, and you need to know how to make the best use of all legal tools available to you. Your plan should be personalized to meet your specific needs and to preserve and protect your legacy. The Law Offices of Cheryl David can help you to create and implement a plan. We provide assistance in Guilford County and surrounding areas and we can offer you assistance with your plan as well as answers to questions including:
- Do I need an estate plan?
- What should be included in my estate plan?
- How can a Greensboro estate planning lawyer help me?
Do I Need an Estate Plan?
If you have anyone counting on you, if you have any money or assets at all, and if you want to maintain dignity and autonomy in case of incapacity, you need an estate plan. An estate plan is so much more than just creating a will, although many people believe this is all that is involved. The reality is that an estate plan is about preparing for an uncertain future by protecting yourself and your assets.
The estate plan which you create should be tailored to your specific situation, taking into account your family status, the amount of assets and wealth you have acquired, and a variety of other factors. While every person’s plan should be different, every person should have some type of plan so they don’t end up losing assets or leaving their loved ones in a difficult position in the future.
What Should Be Included in my Estate Plan?
Your estate plan should include effective use of legal tools to protect your assets, your autonomy, your dignity, and your legacy. The plan which you create may include:
- A living will and/or Do Not Resuscitate. This is essential to ensure you are able to get the medical care you want in a life-threatening emergency, but will not have extraordinary measures used to save your life if you don’t want them to be. This saves your family from having to cut off life support and ensures you get to make the hardest choices about medical care for yourself rather than leaving it all up to family.
- A power of attorney. You may wish to have a general durable power of attorney giving someone authority over your assets if you can no longer manage them yourself due to incapacity. You can create a springing power of attorney if you don’t want to transfer this authority until you become incapacitated. You could also consider creating a healthcare power of attorney so you name the person who will make medical decisions in case you are incapacitated and your living will doesn’t provide an answer to the type of care you should receive in the particular situation.
- A last will and testament. This can be used to express your wishes on everything from guardianship of your children to how assets are distributed. While you should have a will, however, it may not be the best way to facilitate the transfer of property.
- Trusts. Trusts can sometimes be preferable to a will because- depending on the trust- they can provide some asset protection, including the avoidance of estate taxes. The type of trust(s) created will determine how trusts protect your assets and allow you to maintain control.
- An asset protection plan. An asset protection plan should be a part of your estate plan because you want to make sure you actually have a legacy to leave and that your heirs don’t make unwise use of the gift you’ve provided.
These are just a few of many different things which should potentially be a part of your estate plan. Your attorney can advise you on the specifics of what legal tools are the best for you to use to achieve your goals.
How Can a Guilford County Estate Planning Lawyer Help Me?
The Law Offices of Cheryl David provides assistance with all aspects of creating an estate plan. From setting goals to exploring legal options to creating and implementing your plan, our legal team is here to help. We service clients in Greensboro, NC, Guilford County, and surrounding locations within North Carolina. Contact us today at (336) 547-9999 or contact us online to learn more.