How do you know when your estate plan is complete? That’s a tough question, especially because it’s one that addresses a time after you will likely have passed. You may feel uncertain about your estate and the future of your loved ones.
There are many questions you should ask your estate planning attorney when setting up a Will or Trust. Planning your estate may be a difficult thing to do, but when prepared correctly, you can have peace of mind that your intentions will be carried out properly and that your estate plan is complete. Here are the top questions we recommend asking your estate planning attorney.
1. If I die without a Will or Trust in place, what happens to my assets?
Without a Trust or Will in place, your assets will either be passed to your heirs, generally relatives, or the joint owners of the assets that are remaining. An asset may be subject to probate if it does not have a co-owner or designated beneficiary. If you prefer that your heir or spouse not receive funds outright after you have passed, this may pose a problem. There are automatic people that will receive your assets without a Will, so you may want to structure a different plan.
2. Why do I need an estate plan? I don’t have many assets.
There are many documents that will allow you to make certain decisions for you when you are not able, as well as allow you to plan for how you want your assets to be distributed — even if you don’t have many — after you have passed. For most people, these should include Medical Authorization, Power of Attorney, and a Will or a Trust.
3. Who do I choose to make my decisions if I am no longer able to make them myself?
This depends on your unique personal relationships. When choosing who to designate such documents and decisions like Medical Powers of Attorney, you should appoint the person you trust the most, who is willing to carry out your wishes in the face of an end of life decision. If you are choosing someone to appoint to carry out your estate, you should feel confident in their financial management capabilities. Keep in mind that they will have full, unsupervised access to your funds, so be sure that they don’t have significant financial issues of their own to deal with on top of carrying out your estate.
4. What if I don’t have anyone designated to make financial or medical decisions?
If this is the case for you, it may serve you well to have an appointed conservator or guardian. A conservator will handle your finances, while a guardian will handle other aspects of your life, such as medical decisions, placement and caregiving. A single person can serve as both conservator and guardian.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney
If you’re looking to start planning your estate, or have any questions regarding what goes into estate planning or setting up a Will or Trust, contact Tanko Law today. Attorney Brian Tanko has proudly served the Kalispell area for over two decades.