Estate Planning From Wills to Advance Directives

Updated 3/29/2022

Accumulating wealth for later years is called estate planning. Another major part of it is determining what will happen to that wealth after you die. After your death, your loved ones are going to need to know what to do with your assets. Without a solid plan, they might start fighting with each other. Or the money could go in a direction that you wouldn’t want it to. This is why it is so important to plan ahead for these things. An estate planning lawyer can help you figure out what you have and exactly what you want to do with it. Then you can get legal documents drawn up to protect your assets.

You can start considering estate planning with an after-death planning guide. This can give you ideas of what to expect, as well as help you plan what you want. Once you’ve thought it through, then it is time to go to your lawyer and make things official. While there is no official after a death occurs checklist, your will is among the first things considered after your death. So make sure you get it done correctly.

Were you aware that 51% of the United States’ population between the ages of 55 to 62 haven’t had a will drawn up yet? When considering the overall population, 64% of Americans don’t have a will. When someone is under 40 years of age and doesn’t have a will, it’s recommended to seek legal help to take care of this as soon as possible.

Wills, Trusts, and Federal Estate Taxes

There are various situations where having a will as well as a trust drawn up makes sense. This is particularly the case when someone has six-figure assets or higher. This can assist with minimizing estate taxes and avoiding probate. If an individual recipient has an estate valued at more than $5.43 million, for example, they will not be exempt from federal estate taxes when they inherit a six-figure estate. The same applies to married couples when their existing estate is valued at more than $10.86 million.

There are conditions under which someone may not have to pay estate taxes, however. This is referred to as the estate-tax exemption. During 2015, for instance, an individual could leave a bequest, which is a gift to another individual following their death, valued up to $5.43 million without the recipient having to pay any federal estate taxes.

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Health Care Proxies and Durable Powers of Attorney

Individuals may also be interested in having other types of legal documents drafted in order to have someone overview health care needs and to otherwise act on their behalf. These includes a Health Care Proxy and a Durable Power of Attorney. Once someone has been nominated to address these issues, a qualified estate attorney will usually charge between $500.00 and $1,500.00 to draft the necessary documents.

Advance Directives

Many seniors choose to have advance directives drafted by an attorney. These are also referred to as living wills. The number of individuals within this age bracket that have been doing so has steadily increased. In 2000, 47% of seniors had an advance directive. By 2010, this number increased to 72%.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney to Learn More

Are you looking for legal help to write a will or engage in other types of estate planning, such as creating an advance directive? There are estate planning attorneys that can advise you on these and other related matters. Furthermore, they will also be able to assist you with composing and filing these important documents.

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