Presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning, www.bradfordholliman.com
Before the holiday season arrives, take time to make sure your estate plan is current. Have answers for these questions when you review your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney:
- Do you want a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust? If you’re not sure, answer this question: Do you want to avoid the probate process and its expense and red tape or are you comfortable with your personal representative going through the probate process?
- If you have a revocable living trust, has it been properly funded?
- Do you want your spouse to have unlimited control over assets after you die – even though he/she may remarry and leave those assets to a new spouse? Or do you want to make sure your spouse can use your assets for life and have your children inherit remaining assets after your spouse dies?
- Do you have family members with debt problems? If so, you should put controls in place to protect the family member from creditors or wasting the assets rather than giving them assets directly.
- Do you have family members with substance abuse problems? Again, you should put controls in place so the assets are not used to fund the substance abuse.
- Do you have a disabled child? If so, you need to make sure the child’s inheritance will not cause the child to lose government benefits.
- Who will you name as guardian(s) to take care of your minor children if both parents are deceased?
- Who do you want to manage your assets for your minor children if you are deceased?
- Do you want to disinherit someone? If so, certain steps can help avoid a will contest later.
- Do you have estate and gift tax issues? If so, steps must be taken to reduce or eliminate taxes.
- Are you implementing creditor and lawsuit protection in your estate plan for your surviving spouse and children?
- Are your beneficiary designations consistent with your estate plan?
- Who will make your financial and health care decisions if you are incapacitated?
- Do you have a long-term care plan?
Your answers to these questions may not be addressed in online form documents. Take time to get sound advice from an experienced estate planning attorney before your holidays kick into high gear.
-Melanie Bradford Holliman
Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC
Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trusts.
2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124
This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.