Having a comprehensive estate plan is a vital part of preparing for the future and protecting the present. It is crucial to create an airtight estate plan and pinpoint where you want your assets to go, as a sudden car accident could result in a death or incapacity that changes your future and family dynamic. The estate planning process begins with a thorough identification of one’s assets. Next, it is essential to identify potential beneficiaries and determine if their status under the law creates any possible complications. Finally, choosing the correct testamentary documents for your situation and assets is vital to giving your estate plan the intended effect.
The estate planning process in St. Charles County does not need to be overly complicated. A dedicated estate planning attorney is ready to talk with you to discuss your needs, identify your options, and help you protect your future.
Common Reasons to Create an Estate Plan
The primary reason to create an estate plan is to protect one’s heirs and the assets that these heirs stand to inherit. Common examples of valuable assets include physical property, real estate, bank accounts, and even business interests. Having a valid estate plan can ensure that these items move to the appointed beneficiaries at the correct time.
However, estate plans can also benefit the creator. For instance, assembling a comprehensive estate plan might lessen one’s tax burden, make them eligible for government benefits like Medicaid, and help them achieve peace of mind by knowing that their future is protected.
Therefore, the first step in the estate planning process is to carefully categorize all of one’s assets and needs. An attorney in St. Charles County could help take stock of property, determine whether any estate plan documents are already in effect, and identify potential beneficiaries who can take possession of this property later in the process.
Selecting the Right Estate Planning Documents
Once a person has identified their assets and beneficiaries, the process of crafting estate planning documents can begin. For a few people, a Last Will and Testament can be sufficient to account for all assets and property. Wills are traditional testamentary documents that dictate what a person wishes to happen to their assets after they die. They serve to help retain control over the probate process and avoid the state’s harsh intestacy laws.
According to Missouri Revised Code § 474.320, a will must be in writing and contain the testator’s signature or another person’s signature who signs on behalf of the testator. Additionally, the will must contain the signatures of two witnesses who observed the testator sign the document.
However, for many people, creating a will is not the best or only choice. More modern estate planning tools, like trusts, can offer increased flexibility. Trusts allow for the protection of assets and the transfer of those assets at any time. In addition, these documents can bring tax benefits to all parties and even help people to qualify for government benefits like Medicaid. If a St. Charles County resident has further questions about how to best select the right testamentary documents during the estate planning process, our knowledgeable lawyers could serve as a valuable resource.
Speak With an Attorney about the Estate Planning Process in St. Charles County
It is never too early to get started on the estate planning process. Every adult should keep track of their assets and identify what they want to happen to those assets in the future. Failing to author a will, trust, or other testamentary document could make it much more challenging to distribute your assets according to your wishes in the future.
An attorney is ready to assist you with the estate planning process in St. Charles County. Our dedicated lawyers could help explain the roles that the various testamentary documents can play and determine whether they are right for you. Once this is done, our legal team can draft these documents in a way that meets your goals. Reach out to our office today to get started on the estate planning process.