Estate planning law deals with the drafting of legal documents that direct how a person’s assets should be handled and what medical treatments they will receive in important situations. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Johnson Law Group can answer questions about estate planning law and your family. Our compassionate and understanding attorneys can create an estate plan that is customized to your family’s needs. Consider contacting our legal team today at (720) 463-4333 Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558 to begin creating your estate plan.
An “estate” is anything a person owns at the time of their death that is not immediately transferred to a beneficiary or co-owner. An estate plan consists of a series of documents that protect your assets and explains how they should be managed and distributed amongst your beneficiaries. An estate plan documents a person’s individual wishes and names certain people in fiduciary rules who are responsible for carrying out these issues.
A solid estate plan will accomplish the following objectives:
One of the most important functions of an estate plan is that it protects a person’s beneficiaries. Without a valid estate plan, state law (instead of a person’s wishes) will ultimately how assets will be distributed after a loved one’s death. With an estate plan, a person proactively plans for their death and incapacitation, often by carefully considering how to protect their beneficiaries if something happens to them.
Through an estate plan, a person designates beneficiaries for their assets, including real property, personal property, and remaining financial accounts. An estate plan helps ensure a person’s legacy is carried out according to their specific wishes. Additionally, estate plans can protect children of any age. A person can name a guardian to care for their child if they pass away while the child is young. They can also create plans to provide financial support to their child well into their adulthood. Estate planning can also provide for loved ones with special needs. Careful estate planning can supplement a loved one’s public benefits without jeopardizing them.
An estate plan gives a person a strong voice in communicating their final wishes to their loved ones. They can communicate how they want their property distributed after their death, as well as how it should be managed if they become unable to manage it for themselves.
An estate plan can also let a person communicate their wishes and values regarding what medical treatments they want and do not want at end of life. A person creating an estate plan can also name specific people they trust who can make decisions on their behalf that are based on their wishes.
Estate planning can help older parents maintain a sense of integrity and greater autonomy as they age. Families can ask questions to help determine their loved one’s wishes, such as:
Ensuring that an estate plan is put in place, documents are in order, and beneficiaries are clearly stated in all relevant policies and documents is a great gift for families. These preventative measures can help prevent conflict. When a person’s wishes are clear, it is less likely that a family dispute will arise that negatively impacts family relations and the estate.
The estate planning lawyers at Johnson Law Group regularly create the following types of estate planning documents:
A Last Will and Testament (will) is a document that identifies who will get your property after you pass away. You can name a personal representative to manage your estate and carry out the instructions in your will. Your will can authorize the sale of your assets and make gifts to people and charities. You can also name a guardian for your minor children.
The legal requirements for someone to make a will include:
A will only becomes effective at the time of death.
A trust is a legal document that provides detailed instructions about how the property transferred to the trust should be managed. A trust controls how and when trust assets are distributed. For example, a person may state in their trust that their children will receive their inheritance at the age of 30 when they may be more responsible to handle it. Alternatively, the trust document may state that the trustee should provide distributions specifically for the health care, educational, and maintenance needs of beneficiaries.
The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel says that a power of attorney is the most important estate planning document someone can have in place. A power of attorney gives someone the right to manage someone else’s financial affairs, including paying their bills, managing investments, and making financial decisions on their behalf.
A living will describes end-of-life preferences that medical providers must respect.
A medical power of attorney assigns decision-making authority to someone else regarding your medical decisions.
If you have questions about estate planning law and your family, you might consider contacting the knowledgeable estate planning lawyers at Johnson Law Group. An attorney can answer any questions you have about the process, explain the legal process of creating an estate plan, and make recommendations about estate planning documents and provisions that are unique to your situation. You can reach our experienced estate planning attorneys at (720) 463-4333 or Text-to-Chat (720) 730-4558 to schedule an appointment and begin the process for your family today.