Are you thinking about making an estate plan? Then you likely have a few questions — since this isn’t something that most people think about very often.
Then you’ve come to the right place. Your questions may be answered below:
1. Do I need an estate plan?
Many people die without a will or any estate plans. Dying without a will is called dying “intestate.” As a result, the state will have to manage the deceased affairs, which may go against their best interests.
2. Who will benefit from my estate?
You can name family, friends and loved ones to inherit from your estate. You can name these people as beneficiaries in your will. Or, you can make trusts that help safeguard assets for your heirs.
3. What makes a good executor of the estate?
An executor of your estate handles your estate and any related matters after you pass away. For example, they’ll likely be responsible for contacting heirs and distributing assets. In other words, you likely want an executor who is trustworthy and ready to handle complex matters at a moment’s notice.
4. What’s the purpose of a power of attorney?
A Power of Attorney is effective during your life time. A will (and executor) becomes effective at death. You can name a power of attorney to act on your behalf. Typically, 2 different powers of attorney will be prepared – one to name someone to manage your health and the other to handle financial affairs.
5. When should I update my estate plan?
People often make an estate plan and forget about it. But, an estate plan can and should be regularly be updated. A good rule is to review your plan annually and meet with legal counsel at least every 4 to 5 years to review the plan. You will also need to update your estate plan after, for example, marriage or divorce, children or any major change in assets (or moving to a new state).
6. Can I draft your own estate plan?
While you can draft your own estate plan, it’s often recommended to seek legal help. Estate planning is a complex legal matter and one mistake can create issues for your heirs.