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Common Estate Planning Questions

By James Allen Lee April 30, 2017

Estate Planning

Do I need an Estate Planning Attorney?

What will happen to your assets when you pass away? Who will be in charge of making sure your wishes are carried out? Who will look after your minor children in the event of your untimely death? The answers to these questions depend on the content of your will, trust, and advance directives.
Have you taken the time to think about the answers to these questions? If so, have you taken time to have these documents prepared by a qualified and competent attorney?

What documents are in a typical Estate Plan?

There are four documents categories that you should consider when planning your estate:

First is a Will or a will substitute. This document sets out what you want to happen to your “stuff” when you die. It is also where you will name your executor and testamentary guardian if you have minor children. “Living Trusts” are will substitutes that have advantages under certain circumstances. Wills and Trusts range from simple to complex depending on your assets and upon your plan of distribution.

Second is a Power of Attorney. A power of attorney is a document where you appoint someone to handle your affairs while you are living but unable or unwilling to do so yourself. There are many types of powers of attorney which can be specifically tailored to meet your needs.

Third is a Health Care Power of Attorney. A Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to make those decisions yourself. A Health Care Power of Attorney also allows your agent to make decisions after your death for the limited purpose of the disposition of your remains (ie, funeral plans) if you do not have a preneed contract in place.

Fourth is a Declaration of Desire for a Natural Death. This document is commonly referred to as a “living will” and is used to make end of life choices. Essentially this is where you set out whether you want life support and/or artificial hydration and nutrition when it is determined to a reasonable degree of medical certainty you are at the end stage of life.

How can we help?

At Helms Robison Lee & Bennett, we have attorneys that can help you navigate these questions and offer sound advice and suggestions. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation please contact James Allen Lee, or one of our attorneys at 704.289.4577.

Learn more about our Estate Planning practice.

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