For many people, a new year is a time to make changes that they’ve been putting off. Common resolutions include quitting smoking, finding a new job, getting organized, and the ever-popular exercising more and losing weight.
While it may not be at the top of any lists, the start of a new year is also a great time to finally get an estate plan into place. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that you don’t need one. Everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of their net worth or family circumstances. An estate plan can ensure that your assets are disposed of the way you want after you pass away, protect your assets from hostile creditors, and provide certain tax benefits.
Here are some of the basic elements of a comprehensive estate plan.
Last Will and Testaments
A last will and testament, often referred to simply as “a will,” is a legal document that indicates your final wishes with regard to your assets and various other matters, such as the custody of any minor children you may have.
A living trust (sometimes called an “inter vivos” trust) is a trust that you create while you are still alive (as opposed to one that is created by your will when you pass away). When you place your assets in a trust, you still retain control of them while you are alive, but they pass directly to the beneficiaries of your trust without having to go through probate.
Advance Health Care Directives
Advance health care directives allow you to designate a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf and provide instructions regarding your care if you are incapacitated.
Durable Powers of Attorney
Durable powers of attorney designate a person that can act on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated (they are referred to as “durable” because they survive your incapacitation). The person you designate to act your behalf is referred to as the “agent,” while you are called the “principal.” A power of attorney can be extremely broad, allowing the agent to manage finances, sell property, make business decisions, apply for public benefits, or engage in other important tasks.
Estate Planning is a Complicated Matter
If you’re considering estate planning, it’s important to understand that the laws in each state are different and there are certain legal formalities with which you must comply in order to make estate planning instruments and documents valid. For this reason, using generic forms you find online is a recipe for disaster. The only way to make sure you have a comprehensive and enforceable estate plan that addresses your specific needs and goals is to engage the services of an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Don’t Delay Anymore: Call Craig Dell Attorneys Today to Speak with a Utah Estate Planning Lawyer
Don’t let another year go by without putting a comprehensive estate plan into place. At Craig Dell Attorneys, we are committed to helping our client prepare for the future, preserve wealth, and provide for future generations. To schedule a complimentary consultation with an attorney, call our office today at 801-783-2515 or contact us online.