An estate is comprised of everything you own; your car, home, bank accounts, investments, and all other personal or real property. Estate planning is making the plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. The lack of an estate plan may become detrimental to your family members since the state will become in control of your estate if no direct plan is available. Here at Anderson & Pittman, our attorneys specialize in drafting estate plans to fit the needs of our clients and ensure that property will be transferred smoothly when the time comes.
An estate plan is typically comprised of a will, a power of attorney (POA), an advance medical directive, and possibly a trust. A will provides your instructions, but it does not avoid probate (the judicial process of proving a will). Any assets titled in your name or directed by your will must go through your state’s probate process before they can be distributed to your heirs. A power of attorney (POA) is a document that essentially allows you to sign over the right for someone else to sign numerous documents on your behalf if you are not able to. An advance medical directive is similar to a POA in that you are signing over authority to another person, but it deals specifically with medical issues and lays out exactly what you would like to occur, or not occur, in your final days. A trust is also a possibility when making an estate plan, it is typically the lengthiest document and used in larger estates. A trust is beneficial because, if written correctly, it can avoid the probate process thus giving your estate and your family more privacy.
If you’re thinking about protecting your family for when you are no longer able to, please contact our office today.