Get Answers To Your Questions About Estate Planning

Because there are many different kinds of estate planning issues to be addressed, estate planning can be complicated and our clients often come to us with questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked:

What Exactly Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the legal process of establishing how to handle your estate and distribute your assets after you die.

Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?

An estate plan can ensure that your loved ones handle your estate according to your wishes. An estate plan can also be designed to protect your loved ones' future by providing for them financially. An effective estate plan can determine who inherits certain property and assets, and who has certain rights to make decisions regarding the estate in your absence or incapacity.

Without an estate plan, a North Carolina court will distribute any remaining assets and debts. However, probate can be costly in the absence of an estate plan, and the court may not distribute your estate as you would have wanted. In other words, an estate plan can give you control over your legacy and help your family avoid the probate process.

Start planning your estate by scheduling a consultation with Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence, & Starling today.

What Are The Components Of An Estate Plan?

The basic documents of an estate plan should include:

  • A will—to name an executor and heirs, as well as to clarify your wishes regarding property distribution.
  • Financial power of attorney—to name a trusted person to make financial decisions on your behalf if you pass away or become incapacitated.
  • Health care power of attorney—to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can no longer make them due to incapacity.

There are also various kinds of trusts that can be used to achieve specific goals. For example, a special needs trust can be created to provide for a loved one with special needs. Other kinds of trusts are effective for preserving assets, minimizing tax liabilities, and passing assets to beneficiaries while avoiding probate.

Should I Wait To Make An Estate Plan When I Am Elderly?

Everyone should have a legally sound estate plan, even if you are young and in good health. Life is unpredictable, and it is always a good idea to plan ahead. If you have already made an estate plan, you should periodically review it with the help of an attorney to ensure that the plan suits your current situation and that of your family.

How Do I Create An Estate Plan?

The first step to creating an estate plan is to contact an experienced lawyer. During your consultation, you can discuss your goals and concerns regarding your estate. Then, you can take the necessary steps to create a will, powers of attorney, and other necessary estate planning documents. It is important to have legal guidance in these matters to ensure the clarity and legal enforceability of any estate document you create.

Contact Our Firm For Estate Planning Guidance

If you are planning your estate and have more questions, our attorneys can answer them. Call our firm at 919-300-6982 or 910-249-9165, or contact us online. We have offices in Smithfield and Clinton, and we advise and represent clients throughout Johnston County, Sampson County and the surrounding areas.