Death can come when we least expect it. This leaves our family struggling emotionally as they make arrangements and try to figure what to do next. As hard as it is to think about, we all die. Are you prepared? Who will take care of your minor children? How will your estate and property be divided? Will your medical wishes be respected?
What Are the Major Documents That I Need to Put in Place?
To start any estate preparation, it is first necessary to have these foundational documents in place that ensure your wishes are known and honored:
- Last Will and Testament- a legal document that names an executor and details how the estate will be managed or dispersed after the writer’s death. These documents should be updated throughout your life or when your situation changes. Consider the changes that would be necessary if a birth, divorce or death were to occur, or if assets were obtained or lost.
- Power of Attorney (Health and Financial)- a legal document in which you appoint someone to manage medical and financial decisions if you become incapacitated. This could be general in nature and would allow your appointed person to do anything that you can do or this could be limited and specify what decisions they can make.
- Living Will – a legal document that details how the writer wishes to proceed with life prolonging treatments in the event that the writer becomes hopelessly incapacitated or cannot speak for his or herself because of a terminal illness or if in a permanent vegetative state. This informs and guides health care providers and frees those you love from making this difficult decision.
- Trust – a legal document that allows you to specify how your assets are distributed after your death. Individuals who have a substantial net worth, are interested in minimizing estate taxes, would like to protect their estate from lawsuits or creditors, or have specific instructions about their estate would benefit from establishing a trust.
Why Do I Need These?
It is vital to have these documents in place so you can be assured during your lifetime that your wishes will be followed medically, those cared about will be provided for, and material possessions will be handled according to your wishes in the event of a significant injury or death.
Being prepared will give you new peace of mind. This will also reduce the stress felt by those you leave behind because you have prepared for this event and they will know how to proceed.
How Can The Jaeger Firm, PLLC, Help to Prepare These?
At The Jaeger Firm, PLLC, we have a simple, but unique client questionnaire to help you consider those difficult decisions with regard to your personal needs and goals and those of your family. After the questionnaire is completed, an attorney will review your answers and prepare the necessary documents. Once you have made final revisions, an appointment will be made to properly execute the documents. This will ensure that in the event of a disability, incapacity or death your desires are clear, known, and honored.
What Does It Mean to the Estate Administrator If the Estate Goes into Probate?
Losing a close friend or a family member is never easy. Whether it was sudden or a slow process, it is emotionally draining. As the estate administrator, it can be difficult to handle grief and all of the minute details that go along with taking care of his or her estate and dispersing the property after death. Unfortunately, most estates have to go through the probate process.
With the help of an attorney at The Jaeger Firm, PLLC, the estate administration process can be significantly less painful and your stress can be reduced. If desired, we can walk you step-by-step through the probate administration process. This can include assistance in preparing and filing the necessary forms to open, administer, and finalize the estate, gather and prepare an inventory, and handle any assets. Assets may include property that the estate may own, or any property transferred to or from the estate. The Jaeger Firm, PLLC, attorney can also help you deal with any creditors of the estate and prepare and file an estate tax return if needed.
What Our Services Include
- Reviewing, analyzing, and developing estate plans
- Preparing documents necessary to accomplish your various goals
- Assisting in the administration of an estate