Estate Planning Lawyer Minneapolis, MN
An estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN that families depend on from Wiseman Bray, PLLC understands that estate planning can be a sensitive topic since you are planning for what happens after you pass on. For many people, it is a complex topic, and it is often delayed until later on in life. There is a common misconception that estate planning is reserved only for the wealthy. What many people don’t know is that estate planning is a relevant topic for anyone with cash or assets. The purpose of an estate plan is to have your wishes respected and executed so that your loved ones and assets can be taken care of. A living trust is just one way you can preserve your values and assets after your passing. Whether your estate is big or small, you must write a living trust if you want your legacy protected and passed onto future generations of those you love the most. Rest assured that we have the compassion and experience needed to support you as you create an official living trust.
About Our Law Firm
At Wiseman Bray, PLLC, an estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN families trust has advised many clients who are working on their estate plan. The estate planning process can be tricky. There are a number of approaches to it, but what you decide to include in your estate plan is up to your particular values, interests, and whether or not there are loved ones that you intend to pass your assets along to. Whether you are just starting your first draft or need to update an old and outdated one, we can help ensure all your bases are covered. We can help you continually update your estate plan when necessary. Thinking about the future and how to best manage your estate after your passing is not always simple or clear. Making plans for after death is not really what you would call having a “good time” per se, however, the alternative would be risking your legacy going through the hoops of probate court where the government has more of a say in handling your assets.
If your estate does end up in probate court because you lacked an estate plan, this means more stress and frustration for your loved ones who will already be struggling after your passing. Not having an estate plan established can lead to family conflicts or other third parties attempting to seize a part of your wealth or one or more of your assets. Hiring an estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN that clients can confide in can help you achieve a sense of relief knowing that the distribution of your wealth is prepared for.
#1 Understand The Cons of Probate
Probate court entails establishing the validity of a written will, distributing assets, settling debts, and more. Most people want to avoid probate if possible, as they prefer not to have the court handle any element of their assets. This is understandable, since the court may handle your estate much differently than what you would prefer. Probate is often costly and frequently results in an immediate devaluing of the estate. This is because, in most circumstances, probate will cost the estate around 5% in expenses. Secondly, probate can postpone dependents or heirs from receiving funds in the estate for several years. To avoid this issue, it is recommended that you have an estate plan so that your specified wishes can be carried out.
#2 Don’t Forget About Personal Items
Our lawyer may suggest that if you have a book collection, family heirlooms, a box of photographs, a journal, or other items that have sentimental value, to not forget about them in your estate plan. We all have belongings that are of particular significance to our lives but may not look the same to another person. Listing these in your estate plan gives you the chance to think about what means the most to you. There may be certain individuals that you would like to pass your possessions to. To make sure your possessions are taken care of, you may want to name people that you think would best appreciate them. This way they are not discarded and actually go to people who will value them as much as you do. The expensive and sentimental belongings and how you want them distributed must be clearly outlined, so there is no confusion.
#3 Figure Out Who You Want to Receive Assets
Most people choose their significant others, children, and other close family members as beneficiaries. As an estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN clients trust may explain, it is common for people to list relatives that mean the most to them as beneficiaries of their assets. But, you can also include friends and charitable organizations if you’d like! This is often overlooked by many people working on their estate plan. If there are certain charities, organizations or causes that are meaningful to you, make sure to make note of them in your plan. Think about how you want to organize your donations to those specified causes. Whether you have certain individuals or causes in mind, make sure to name and list each of them in your estate plan so no one is left off. Think about the people who would love getting something special of yours to remind them of you for years to come, after you have passed away.
#4 Make a List of Tangible and Intangible Assets
If you have an abundance of assets and belongings, then this stage may take some time. You want to write a list of all the assets you own, including tangible and intangible items. For instance, you need to include your vehicles, boats, homes, property, life insurance policies, stocks, bonds, jewelry, and anything else of value to you (whether monetarily or sentimental). This is why it is strongly recommended that you begin the estate planning process early, especially if you have a long list of assets that needs to be listed. For some certain items, it may take additional time to decide how you want them to be taken care of.
#5 Assign Assets to Your Beneficiaries
Once you have completed the first two steps, then you will move on to combining these lists. Use your list of beneficiaries to assign what assets you want them to have after you have passed away. Keep in mind that if you have certain people listed on your life insurance or other policies that you may need to make changes, so everything matches. An estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN families, rely on can give you information about how to make edits to such policies if needed.
#6 Find Supportive Documentation
It would help if you found paperwork related to your assets, so the person distributing these things for you to beneficiaries doesn’t encounter road bumps. You want your plan to be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and prevent conflicts between different parties, such as family members. Gather documentation such as titles, stock certificates, policies, deeds, etc. You can share these with your lawyer at Wiseman Bray, PLLC, as he or she helps you finalize your living trust.
#7 Appoint a Successor Trustee
When you have a living trust, you need to name yourself as the trustee to continue to manage assets throughout your life. But then you must choose a successor trustee, who shall distribute assets to beneficiaries based on your wishes and pay debts upon your passing. This person should be someone that you trust to handle your affairs responsibly and without motivation for personal benefit.
If you are ready to begin writing your living trust, or must make edits to a current version, then an estate planning lawyer from Wiseman Bray, PLLC can offer the guidance you need, so don’t delay in calling today!
What Other Documents Should I Include in My Estate Plan?
A living trust is an invaluable estate planning tool. But it is not the only estate planning tool you’ll need to have in place if you become incapacitated or pass away. Estate planning is a complex process that governs a variety of scenarios. It is essential to work with a skilled estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN clients turn to for insight when constructing a comprehensive estate plan. Common documents included in an estate plan include a last will and testament, powers of attorney, and a living trust. However, there are a number of tools and documents you can include, so a lawyer can go over what will be recommended for your particular plan. They will guide you so that you have everything you want to include in your estate plan, and ensure that it will be executed properly.
Once the team at Wiseman Bray, PLLC, learns about your unique life experience, property, and preferences, we can help you create (or modify) a comprehensive estate plan. With these tools in place, your loved ones won’t need to second guess what your wishes are. Instead, they’ll be guided by clearly articulated, legally enforceable documentation.
“Living” Estate Plan Documentation
It has often been said that estate planning documents are living documents. What does this mean? With very few exceptions, you can alter or modify any of your estate planning documents as your life experience, circumstances, and preferences change. As a result, you can always turn to a lawyer community members trust when needs and preferences change over time. As your life evolves, we can help your estate planning documentation to evolve accordingly.
What documents do you need to have in place at all times?
At a minimum, you’ll want to speak with our team about creating a living trust and will, a durable power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, an advance healthcare directive, and (if you are a parent of minor children or incapacitated adult dependents) guardianship designations. Whereas a will and/or living trust will help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, financial and medical powers of attorney will allow other trusted adults to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
By contrast, an advanced healthcare directive will tell your medical care team your medically-related wishes if you are hurt or ill to such a degree that you cannot articulate them on your own.
Legal Assistance Is Available
Every adult needs to create a comprehensive estate plan, as not all estate-related matters may be lawfully enforced simply by having a will and/or living trust in place. If you do not yet have a comprehensive estate plan in place or need to update or otherwise modify your existing estate plan, please schedule a consultation with us at Wiseman Bray, PLLC. None of us knows how long we will have until our estate plans become urgent matters for our loved ones to grapple with.
To better ensure that your wishes are clearly articulated and legally enforceable, please connect with an estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN families trust at our law firm Wiseman Bray, PLLC today.
Tips for Managing Familial Conflict
One of the biggest concerns and one of the most primary reasons for creating an estate plan is mitigating the risk of familial conflict should you become incapacitated or pass away. The harsh reality is that the tragic and unexpected can occur at any moment, and you must be as prepared as possible. Familial conflict can be devastating to relationships within the family; it stands to put your estate at risk when you ultimately pass away. Safeguarding your estate plan should be one of your top priorities, and our Memphis, Tennessee estate planning lawyer can provide you with the guidance you need. The following are tips to consider to help prevent family conflict from occurring when the time comes:
Tip #1: Make Sure to Communicate Your Plans
While you certainly won’t want to share your estate plan with everyone you know, there are key people you should make sure you communicate your plans to. This can help to manage expectations for when the time comes. These conversations can be incredibly challenging and even uncomfortable to have. You may also find that your loved ones are resistant to having it. However, by providing them with a clear outline of how your estate plan is divided, and the decisions you have made can give them the ability to ask questions and gain a clear understanding of the reasons behind your decision making. It may even be beneficial to have one of your adult children be a part of the planning process.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Time and Place
Timing is everything when communicating your estate plans to loved ones. The last thing you should consider is bringing up such a delicate topic at a family event or holiday occasion. Make a plan to discuss your wishes at a time set aside to discuss your estate plan.
Tip #3: Don’t Set Your Children Up for Conflict
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is choosing one child to make decisions over their siblings’ inheritance. This could only lead to conflict amongst siblings, putting them in an incredibly challenging situation.
Tip #4: Regularly Update Your Estate Plan
Updating your estate plan is critical for several reasons. People’s circumstances often change over time, meaning an estate plan is something that you should be sure to update or review at least every 3-5 years or experiencing one of these life changes:
- Birth/Adoption of Children
- Tax Updates
- Change in Assets
- Beneficiary Changes
Our estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN, recommends that you update your estate regularly so that the plan you leave for your family is as clear and as accurate as possible.
Tip #5: Carefully Consider Whether to Disinherit Someone
You may find that there are some people you are looking to disinherit. While you will want to carefully consider whether this is appropriate, when it comes to close family, such as children, they must be aware of your wishes. Disinherited children may challenge your estate plan and are likely to create further conflict within the family. If you choose not to leave someone you love an inheritance because you are concerned that they are not responsible enough, consider speaking with our team about alternative ways you can manage this situation. A living trust may be another viable option.
Tip #6: Consider a Living Trust
A living trust can provide several benefits for estate planning. Creating a living trust allows you to place your assets into a trust while you are still living. You will have the ability to continue controlling the trust and making changes during your lifetime. Once you pass away, the appointed trustee assumes control of the trust. Living trusts outline your wishes and allow you to leave special instructions for how you would like assets distributed to heirs. Living trusts can be more difficult to challenge in court and can reduce conflict down the road.
To learn more about how Wiseman Bray, PLLC, can help you develop your estate plan, call our Memphis, TN estate planning lawyer to get started.
Common Myths About Estate Planning
Estate planning is an important yet confusing process. Many people don’t understand that much about the process and can make costly mistakes. With that being said, here are some common estate planning myths you shouldn’t believe.
- Estate planning is only for rich people. This is one of the biggest myths about estate planning. Just because you aren’t a millionaire, doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from having a proper estate plan in place. Estate planning can ensure your loved ones are financially taken care of if you should die suddenly.
- Estate planning isn’t necessary for the young. Not enough young people make estate planning a priority. They assume that it can wait until they’re older. However, it’s important to remember that tomorrow is never promised. Life can be unpredictable at times. Even if you’re young and healthy right now, you should still consider creating an estate plan soon.
- Once you create an estate plan, that’s it. Setting up an estate plan is a solid step in protecting your family from the unexpected. However, keep in mind that you will likely need to update it multiple times throughout your life. Whenever you experience a major life change, like a divorce or birth of a child, you should have an estate planning lawyer in Memphis, TN review your estate plan.
- You should divide your assets evenly among your children. If you have multiple children, you might think it’s only fair to give them the same inheritances. However, this isn’t always the best idea. Your children may have very different needs and goals. For example, if one of your children isn’t as financially stable as the rest, you may decide to give him or her a bigger inheritance.
- You should always appoint a family member as an executor. Many people choose to appoint a close family member as the executor of their will. However, this might not be in your best interest. If you believe you believe there will be conflict among your family members, it may be better to appoint an impartial third-party, like a corporate trustee, as the executor.
- Hiring a lawyer isn’t necessary. Even if you think your estate plan is fairly simple, you should still consult a skilled estate planning lawyer. Wills can include complicated legal jargon and you don’t want to make costly mistakes. A lawyer can ensure your will states what you want it to.