What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is an essential collection of legal documents that protect your wealth, health, and family. Estate planning is the preparation of tasks needed to create an estate plan.
In an estate plan, you name the people or organizations you want to inherit your assets when you’re gone, the medical treatment you wish to receive if you become incapacitated, and guardianship agreements for your children.
Any affair you want to be protected—financial, medical, and more—is covered by an estate plan. The essential elements of an estate plan include:
- A last will
- Guardianship designations
- Healthcare power of attorney or advance health care directive
- Beneficiary designations
- Durable power of attorney
- Personal letter of intent
Our attorneys can walk you through the estate planning process to ensure your needs are met from the start. It can be a complex and emotional process of deciding what options to choose and filing the proper legal paperwork to make it official and manage it moving forward. Know that Fuller Law Practice will make this a seamless process, from start to finish.
What Makes Up My Estate?
During the estate planning process, you take inventory of your assets and outline through your will how you want those assets to be distributed when you die, as well as other decisions, such as naming a caregiver for your children. You also can consider transferring your assets into a private trust that will protect your family from the probate process.
The assets that “make up” your estate might include:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Personal belongings
- Vehicles, motorcycles, and boats
- Pensions and other benefits
- Stocks and bonds
An executor’s job is to settle a person’s estate, including any debts or liabilities, before any remaining assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. This includes loans, credit cards, utilities, lawsuits, funeral expenses, leases, etc.
If there’s any question about what assets should be in your estate plan or included in your will or trust, our attorneys can provide the legal guidance you seek. Speak with an experienced attorney with Fuller Law Practice regarding your estate planning needs. Call: (720) 770-2475.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that expresses your final wishes and determines how you want your assets distributed when you die. An executor or personal representative executes your will and ensures your wishes are carried out.
It also communicates a designated caregiver for your children if you’re no longer here. When you die with a will, this is called “testate,” while dying without a will is referred to as “intestate.” After a person passes, a will must go through the probate process to ensure its authenticity and pay off any remaining debts before assets can be distributed.
Key components of a will include:
- Basic personal information
- Testamentary intent or personal intent
- An appointed executor
- An appointed guardian for any minor children (when applicable)
- A list of property
It’s helpful to have an attorney draft your will, determine appropriate assets and file the necessary paperwork to ensure it’s valid. This will ensure you avoid legal troubles down the road and minimize any disputes among family members.
Engage with our team regarding will creation as part of the estate planning process. Contact our team to get started: (720) 770-2475.
What is a Trust?
A trust or “living trust” is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a trustee to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Assets go into a private trust, offer long-term protection, and ensure your assets are distributed according to your specific wishes.
Unlike a will, a trust is a flexible estate planning option that goes into effect immediately once you move assets into it. You can transfer assets throughout your lifetime; once you pass, your trustee manages the funds according to your plan.
There are typically four popular types of trusts to choose from: living, testamentary, revocable, and irrevocable. Our attorneys can help you choose the best fit based on your assets.
There are many ways to utilize a trust. As an example, you can add specific funds to set up an education fund for your children that they can tap into once they reach a certain age. Once there are no assets, the trustee can close the trust out.
Attorneys with Fuller Law Practice can help you create a trust, select appropriate assets and assign a trustee, among other important decisions.
Can an Estate Planning Attorney Help Me?
A lot of important decision-making is required throughout the estate planning process to ensure your finances, assets, and family are protected. It can be overwhelming and daunting to do it alone, especially if there’s no clear path. There are wills, trusts, healthcare directives, executor appointments, beneficiary designations, and much more to consider.
Ultimately, these decisions will impact your family, so it’s essential to be proactive and control the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
Our firm does the heavy lifting to remove as much of the burden off of you as possible so you can make clear and confident decisions regarding your estate. We work with you through our initial consultation to learn more about you, your assets, and your end-of-life goals to kick off the planning process.
This is just the start, too. From decision-making to the design and creation of your estate plan to filing the paperwork, we make sure the right people get your hard-earned assets, avoid the probate process, maintain your privacy, minimize taxes, and control the outcome of your end-of-life wishes with an estate plan.
Contact Fuller Law Practice and speak with our experienced estate planning attorneys to protect your future. Call us today: (720) 770-2475.