A proper estate plan will help your loved ones through what may be a difficult time for them. The probate process will likely go more quickly and smoothly, and your family will incur less costs in administering your estate. The fact that you are researching attorneys is a good first step.
Estate planning often begins with a will, which sets forth how the testator wishes for his or her property to be distributed after death. While a will is an important piece of an estate plan, there are a number of other documents that contribute to making that plan complete. These include a statutory durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, advance directive or “living will”, HIPAA authorizations, and an appointment for distribution of remains. More advanced plans may include trusts and other instruments that can more specifically direct when and how property is to be distributed, minimize the size of a probate estate, and potentially reduce future tax obligations.
Do you already have an estate plan? If so, great! However, if it has been more than 5 years since you put it together, it may be time to update it. Probate law changes fairly frequently, as do people’s circumstances in life. Your current estate planning documents may need to be reviewed and updated in order to make sure your wishes are carried out.