Getting Down to the Basics of Estate Planning…
By definition, an estate plan is an arrangement for your assets and debts upon your incapacity and death. The law has a default estate plan for us all called Intestacy. This default arrangement is often more costly than the plan you would make and it will never take into account your personal preferences. In fact, in North Carolina, most of the decisions will be made by the Clerk of Superior Court or one of her agents using the law of Intestacy as well as any relevant local rules. Although the Clerk will do her best to oversee the administration of your estate – along with the other thousands of estates for which she is responsible – this procedure will most often not reflect the choices you would have made for yourself had you used the opportunity you had during your life and good health to put your own preferences in writing.
If you create an estate plan before you die or become incapacitated, it will take into account at minimum your ABCs. That is, your Assets, Bills, and Children. And a complete estate plan will also cover your health care during your life. If you take the time to prepare an estate plan, before you pass away, it will always more preferable and less expensive than the alternative default arrangement the law has in place for you. These estate planning basics will help guide you through the beginning stages of the process and hopefully help set your mind at ease.
The typical tools used by an estate planning attorney are: Wills, Financial Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Trusts. [Read more…]