Virtually everyone—who owns anything at all—should have an estate plan. Your estate plan can be simple or complex, depending on your situation. One of the key advantages to having an estate plan is that it ensures those you choose to receive your assets—in the easiest way possible. An estate plan eliminates or minimizes the probate process, along with the expense, delays, and loss of privacy probate brings. Charitable giving and business succession can also be incorporated into your estate plan.
Whether you are young or older, have many assets, or only a few, you could benefit from estate planning. Unfortunately, although estate planning is an important component of financial planning, it is the component most often overlooked. An estate plan not only deals with the distribution of assets, but it can help your heirs pay significantly less in taxes, court costs, and fees.
Once you have your estate plan in place, it is wise to update it periodically, especially following a major life event. Having an experienced estate planning attorney help you through the process ensures your estate plan is uniquely designed for you and your family. Having a knowledgeable Covington estate planning attorney from Adams Law can make the entire process less daunting while achieving all your goals.
Why Choose a Covington Estate Planning Attorney from Adams Law?
Choosing Adams Law for all your estate planning needs is a smart move. We are well-versed in dealing with every aspect of estate planning, including emotional and sensitive issues. Estate planning can bring out a variety of emotions—both for you and for your loved ones. While nobody wants to think about their mortality, it can be helpful to think of it in the same way you think of insurance. You purchase home insurance not because you think your home will burn down, but just in case it does.
Estate planning is insurance for your loved ones. Estate planning ensures you leave those you care about the assets you choose while making it as easy as possible for them to receive those assets, carry on your business, or continue your charitable contributions. An estate plan is the best insurance for preventing such a battle, but if such a thing does happen, we have dealt with messy family situations before. Whatever your estate planning needs, an Adams Law estate planning attorney can help.
What is Included in an Estate Plan?
There are four primary components involved in an estate plan. These include:
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that states your wishes for the dispensation of your property, as well as naming a guardian for your minor children. You will name an executor or personal representative who will be in charge of probate and settling your affairs following your death. Even if you have a living trust, if you have minor children you will also need a will to name a guardian.
A living trust can allow your family members to avoid probate, making the entire process much simpler. A living trust can save money for your loved ones, although you will have to identify which assets should be placed into the trust as certain assets could be exempt. You will also need to choose—with the help of your estate planning attorney—the type of trust that will work best for your goals.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows one person to act on behalf of another person. Without a durable power of attorney, even a spouse might not have the authority to make crucial decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. A durable power of attorney also ensures your financial and business issues will be taken care of correctly.
Advanced Medical Directive or a Living Will
An advanced medical directive allows you to communicate your wishes for medical decisions if you are incapacitated. The advanced medical directive also details your wishes concerning the medical treatments you would want—or not want. A living will does essentially the same, allowing you to designate a healthcare surrogate, request or refuse life-prolonging treatment, and express your wishes regarding organ donation.
What Are the Kentucky Requirements for a Will?
Each state has its own requirements regarding wills. In the state of Kentucky, you must be at least 18 years old, and of sound mind to have a will prepared. You must sign the will yourself, and if it is not wholly written by you, then two witnesses must sign the will in your presence after you sign in their presence. Kentucky wills must be in writing, rather than videotaped. Your will can be handwritten or typewritten. You can change or revoke your will through a new will or a codicil to the current will.
Why Do Many People Want an Estate Planning Attorney?
You may hear people talking about ways to avoid probate. If you have a will—or if you have no will, but also do not have a living trust—then your estate must go through probate. Probate can be a lengthy, expensive process that also happens to be a public process. Any interested party can find out what is contained in your will if they choose. A living trust, on the other hand, does not have to go through probate and is not a public process.
If you have no will and no other estate planning document (known as dying “intestate”), then the state of Kentucky will appoint an executor and will dispose of your assets according to Kentucky law. Kentucky has laws known as “dower and curtesy,” which provide that certain property passes directly to a surviving spouse before creditors are paid. The first $15,000 of personal property or money goes to the surviving spouse, then after all creditors are paid the spouse receives half of the decedent’s personal property, half of the decedent’s real property, and one-third of the decedent’s real estate.
How An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney from Adams Law Can Help
When you have a highly skilled Covington estate planning attorney from Adams Law assisting you with your estate planning needs you can be sure you are fully covered for any eventuality. This is important for those with minimal assets, as well as those with significant assets. From establishing private foundations to accommodate charitable giving, representing a decedent’s estate through the probate process, collecting and distributing assets, and assisting the fiduciary with probate administration, Adams Law can help. We can help you with strategic tax planning, and advise you on living trusts, wills, advanced directives, and more. Contact Adam’s Law today for exemplary estate planning assistance.