It can be difficult to think of the future ahead, but it is also crucial in order to set your family up for success and comfort. So once you’ve decided that estate planning is the next crucial step, when should you start? Should you hire a lawyer? How does the process work? We at Law Offices of Jimmy Carter are here to help you take a closer look at your estate planning needs, as well as provide you with a knowledgeable and experienced estate attorney.
When to Start Planning?
In our honest opinion, the answer to, “when should I start the estate planning process” is always immediately. It is never too early to start. We recommend that you begin by considering all of your assets. What investments are in your name? Do you own any real estate, insurance policies, or retirement accounts? You may also have expensive items in your name, such as jewelry, cars, valuable collections, etc. If this is the case, you will need to determine what you would like to happen to all of these assets once you pass.
Who Should I Talk to?
It might be a difficult conversation, but it is wise to talk to your future beneficiaries and heirs to let them know what your plans are. You can select trusted people to handle all your business affairs and even your medical care in case you are no longer able to care for yourself. As long as you make your intentions and wishes clear before you pass, it will be less likely for a legal battle to erupt once you are gone and are no longer able to settle any disputes.
Why Should I Make a Will?
The estate planning process might seem complex and overwhelming, but there are small steps you can take to feel more confident and relaxed in case you should pass away suddenly. A will can make everything much more streamlined, especially if you are a parent of a young child. Your will can outline who you would like to take over the custody of your child; this is an important thing to include because otherwise, this decision is left up to the court. In addition to deciding where your children will go, you can also declare who is going to receive which assets when you pass away. Even if you don’t have much, you should still decide this in your will so your family can avoid having to go through the probate process in court.
You can also determine your medical power of attorney. This is a document that says who will be in charge of making medical decisions for you if you are otherwise unable to do so. For example, if you get into a car crash and slip into a coma, another person will be able to make medical decisions on your behalf. Since this could happen to you regardless of your age, it is wise to begin writing up your will immediately.
Finally, you can also choose a trust to support your loved ones after you are gone. For example, if you have young children, you can choose to leave an amount of money to them that they can only receive when they reach a certain age. However, unless you have a substantial amount of assets, this should not be your first priority.
How do I Get Started?
We recommend that you start thinking about the things we mentioned in this blog post and possibly talk about your estate planning needs with your spouse. Once you have a general idea of what needs to be done, please contact Law Offices of Jimmy Carter! We are estate planning attorneys for residents of Texas who may need our help. If you are in need of a probate attorney, we proudly offer the following services:
- Filing the will with the court
- Appointing an executor of the estate
- Collection of assets
- Paying taxes and debts
- Distribution of assets and property to heirs or specified beneficiaries
Our firm is prepared to guide you and your family through the process, as well as help you understand the nuances of the legal jargon used in these documents. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.