Although your net worth may not be millions of dollars, it is still advisable to work with an estate lawyer on your estate plan. A common misconception is that your estate is just what you own, however a good estate attorney will tell you that a properly executed estate plan includes so much more than just your last will and testament.
What Should My Estate Plan Include?
When you contact an estate lawyer to plan your estate, they will share the many details to include. Depending on your unique situation it may cover some or all of the following:
- Guardianship of Minor Children – Without this, your children could end up in the system or with a family member you did not want raising them.
- A Living Will – Even if you have expressed your desires to your family, without a living will, they may not be able to carry out your wishes.
- Durable Power of Attorney – This protects your assets and finances in the event you are mentally incapacitated due to an illness or injury.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney – With this you will designate a person to make your healthcare decisions should you be unable to do so. It also allows doctors to share medical information without HIPAA violations.
- Trust – If you do have significant assets, you may want to put them into a trust to minimize taxes (consult a tax adviser as well).
- Last Will and Testament – No one should be without a will. Wills help your heirs avoid a lengthy probate process and having a will in place will help distribute your assets as you wish without issue.
Choosing an Estate Attorney
There are many places find an estate lawyer to help you plan your estate. Of course, you want one with experience in estate planning, but you should also want one that is highly rated within the industry. One of those ratings is the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® rating in which peers rate each other. Only about 10% of attorneys hold the AV Preeminent rating.
It’s also important that you find a local attorney. Although many states recognize wills and estate plans conceived in other parts of the country, it can cause an issue. We recommend finding a local estate lawyer to assist with all your estate planning needs.
Wagstaff Law Office specializes in family law including probate and estate planning. Our founder, Mary Lou Miller Wagstaff, Esq. has vast experience in estate planning and is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubble. Call today for your consultation and to learn more about our estate planning services. We can be reached at (727) 584-8182 or by contacting us online.