Do you have a will? Most people don’t. In fact, 64% of Americans don’t have a will.
The reasons why vary, but what will happen if you suddenly pass without a will won’t. Which is why you should schedule to meet with a probate attorney.
They can help guide you through the process and plan ahead. But before you speak with one, here are a few things you should know first.
Why Hire a Probate Attorney
A probate attorney is also known as an estate lawyer. This means that they are a licensed professional has the legal education and experience to advise Executors and beneficiaries of an estate on how to settle final affairs.
Here are just a few things an estate lawyer in Midlothian can help you with:
- Assists with sale of property
- Collecting life insurance proceeds and retirement plans
- Addresses income taxes as well as inheritance and estate taxes
- Settles disputes among beneficiaries
- Locates all assets
- Prepares and files all appropriate documents
Dealing with a deceased person’s estate a long and difficult process. Also, there are so many considerations most people don’t think about.
Types of Documents Probate Attorneys Prepare
Here are the four main types of documents that an estate lawyer will help you prepare:
Plans for the distribution of your property upon your death.
2. Living Will
Helps you plan for possible future health care calamities that may come up where you can no longer speak for yourself. Often this has to do with life support and organ donorship.
3. Health Care Surrogate
Should something happen to you and you can’t speak for yourself, a healthcare surrogate acts as your decision maker.
4. Power of Attorney
This designates someone to act on your behalf for all legal and financial decisions should you become unable to.
How to Plan Ahead Before You Meet with a Probate Attorney
Luckily, there are steps you can take before you meet with an estate lawyer. Here is how to prepare:
What are your assets? What about your liabilities? By taking proper inventory before you meet with an attorney, it will save money and ensure everything is properly covered.
Who do you want to receive your money, assets, and property? How will they receive it? Outright or in a trust?
Designate an Executor
Who will manage all of this? Will you designate an attorney or a member of the family? What about someone to make decisions for you should you become incapacitated?
What Can Happen When You Choose Not to Use an Estate Attorney
Many younger people feel there is no need for a will. However, that can be a huge mistake.
If incapacitated, you can’t speak for yourself. What’s worse, is often there’s been no conversation at all regarding your wishes.
Children and pets may not be cared for according to your wishes. If you have young children, it’s imperative to have a will. Otherwise, the courts decide what happens to them.
Each state differs on their laws regarding what happens to your belongings without a will. Still, it’s easier and smarter for you to make those decisions yourself.
While it can be scary to think and plan for your own death, working with a trusted lawyer makes the process easier. We offer a free 30-minute consultation, so call today for peace of mind.