Thinking about one’s death is never a pleasant thing to do. However, participating in effective estate planning is essential to carrying out your wishes after you are gone and providing for your family. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that estate planning goes far beyond executing a simple will. In reality, estate planning involves setting up trusts to plan for a child’s education, providing instructions for how to carry on a business, and making arrangements for potential future incapacitation.
An O’Fallon estate planning lawyer can help you identify your estate planning goals and draft the documents needed to make those goals a reality. Proper estate planning can create peace of mind in case of the unexpected or inevitable.
Preparing in the Case of Death
The most apparent impact of effective estate planning is providing clear instructions in the case of death. The simplest way to accomplish this is to craft a will that meets the standard for a valid testamentary document. For example, Missouri Statute § 474.320 says that a will must be:
- In writing
- Signed by the testator in their own hand or under his or her direction
- Signed by two witnesses who saw the testator sign the will
Of course, a will is not the only form of a testamentary document that can take effect upon the death of a person. Trusts are another important option. By forming a trust, you can lay out your instructions regarding your property while you are alive and well, if you become disabled, and after you pass away. At the same time, you can help protect your loved ones from lawsuits, divorced, or mismanagement of money.
Finally, a business succession plan can offer guidance on what to do with a business in the event of sudden death or incapacitation. Especially in larger companies, it is essential to retain control over one’s shares or to call for a successor to continue in one’s absence.
An estate planning attorney in O’Fallon can further explain the various forms of testamentary documents and help someone choose the right one for their circumstances.
Estate Planning in the Event of Incapacitation
Meanwhile, estate planning is still crucial before one’s death. There are certainly instances where a person is still alive and has legal rights but cannot care for their well-being. In these complicated situations, having a proper estate plan can ensure that one’s desires carry weight in the case of disability.
For example, many people choose to hand over control of their affairs before becoming incapacitated. A general durable power of attorney can be used to grant this permission. A general power of attorney gives another party broad authority to make important legal decisions, while a specific power of attorney grants permission to perform a single action, such as selling a house or managing a bank account.
An estate planning lawyer in O’Fallon can help handle estate planning matters that may arise before death. For example, a legal representative could help people set up powers of attorney that give other parties the right to perform legal duties. In other cases, they could work to establish or challenge the creation of guardianships for people who become incapacitated.
Speak With an O’Fallon Estate Planning Attorney about Your Future
Proper estate planning is essential to your present and future. In situations where you have many assets in the form of real estate, bank accounts, or control over a business, estate planning can ensure that these assets go where you want when you pass away.
Additionally, estate planning can help you retain control of your assets if you cannot make critical decisions. An O’Fallon estate planning lawyer can help with all your legal needs. Getting started early is important, so reach out today to schedule your consultation.