Frequently Asked Questions
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for the management and distribution of your assets and wealth after your passing. It involves making important decisions about who will inherit your assets, who will manage your affairs, and how your financial and healthcare matters will be handled.
Why is estate planning important?
Estate planning ensures that your wishes are carried out after your death. It can also minimize taxes, protect your assets, and provide for your loved ones. Without a plan, your estate may be subject to lengthy and costly legal proceedings.
What documents are typically included in an estate plan?
Common estate planning documents include a last will and testament, a living will or, Living Trust, Declaration of Trust, Certification of Trust, Assignment of Personal Property, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive, Instructions for final remains, Instructions in the event of Dementia, HIPPA Waiver and Pour over will, are common components of estate plans, as well as other documents that maybe needed depending on your circumstances.
Do I need an attorney for estate planning?
While it’s possible to create some basic estate planning documents yourself, it’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney because improperly created documents or nonfunded trust are likely to require future Probate court involvement. They can help you navigate complex laws, customize your plan, and ensure it is legally sound. Equally important is properly funding the trust or retitling your real estate and other assets to avoid probate and avoid many other future hassles, delays, and expenses.
What’s the difference between a will and a trust?
A Will requires processing through Probate Court, although a Will is a legal document that outlines how your assets should be distributed after your death, it requires an expensive and lengthy process known as Probate before assets can be distributed. A trust, on the other hand, does not require Probate because it creates a legal entity that you hold and manage your assets during your lifetime and designates who you would want to continue to do so after your incapacity or death. Trusts can provide greater protections in the event of incapacity, flexibility and privacy compared to Wills and cost much less to administer than a Will.
When should I start estate planning?
It’s never too early to start estate planning. In fact, it’s often recommended to begin the process as soon as you have assets or dependents. Major life events like marriage, the birth of children, or significant changes in your financial situation should also prompt a review of your estate plan.
Can I update my estate plan if my circumstances change?
Yes, you can change or cancel your estate plan at any time, as long as you have the mental capacity to do so. It’s essential to update your estate plan regularly to reflect changes in your life, finances, or wishes. Life events like divorce, remarriage, the birth of grandchildren, or significant changes in your assets should prompt a review and potential updates.
How can I minimize estate taxes?
Strategies for minimizing estate taxes may include gifting assets during your lifetime, setting up either revocable or irrevocable trusts, and taking advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion. Consulting with a tax professional along with an estate planning attorney can help you develop a tax-efficient plan.
What happens if I die without an estate plan?
If you pass away without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to state laws (intestacy laws), which may not align with your wishes. This can lead to disputes among family members and unintended consequences, as well as require your estate to pay large expenses for, executor fees, legal fees, appraisal fees and court fees through an 8-to-12-month process called Probate.
How much does estate planning cost?
The cost of estate planning can vary widely depending on your specific needs and the complexity of your estate. Because the Law Office of Codi M. Dada exclusively focuses on this area of law, we make estate planning services affordable. We always discuss fees with you upfront, provide you an upfront guaranteed price and provide you the entire agreement in writing.