Many people believe that as long as you write down where you want your money to go after you die, your loved ones will be all set.
Unfortunately, it is not always that easy. Depending on what you own, the process of making sure your assets are properly divided can be confusing, time-consuming, and prone to mistakes. Sadly, these mistakes do not always surface until after you are gone, which leaves your grieving family to navigate the often-complicated world of your local court’s probate system.
Establishing a basic will also does not always cover the issues that may arise in the event that you are terminally ill. Although you may have already come to terms with decisions such as whether to be kept on life support or how you want your remains to be handled, unless you have clearly outlined your preferences on paper, you are asking your family to struggle in making those decisions for you.
That is why a comprehensive North Carolina estate plan is essential to anyone with a family they love and care about.
At Carolina Family Estate Planning, we will sit down with you during a planning session and provide you with all of the options for creating an estate plan that will provide complete protection for you and your loved ones. A great place to start is by attending one of our free seminars to learn more about estate planning.
We offer numerous books and articles on estate planning and asset protection in North Carolina, including Estate Planning Pitfalls: The Twelve Most Common Threats To Your Estate & Your Family’s Future, and we offer a wide ranging of customized planning options to fit your particular goals and circumstances.
Common estate planning tools involve:
- Last Will and Testament: This foundational document is essential to ensuring that your assets are passed down the way that you want them to be, and can include anything from your home and cars to heirlooms and jewelry.
- Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will: Chances are that if you are seriously ill and facing the end of your life, your grieving family is going to struggle with trying to figure out what your wishes are, if you are unable to physically voice them. Having a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will, already in place will give your family the peace of mind they need to focus you and each other, rather than on the decision-making process.
- Children’s Safeguard Plan: Trying to decide who will care for your minor children after you are gone can be tough. But making the decision now—along with a detailed plan you’re your children’s futures—can help prevent uncertainty and unneeded stress in the event of a tragedy.
- Financial Durable Power of Attorney: Appointing someone to handle your day-to-day financial affairs in the event that you become incapacitated is imperative. Learn how a Financial Durable Power of Attorney can help ease some of the burdens from your family, and also how to avoid potentially costly mistakes by making sure the document is worded properly and includes critical provisions that are often overlooked.
- Revocable Living Trust: Creating a trust not only could provide your family with additional protection, it could also prevent your estate from having to go through the public probate process. In addition to the privacy, a trust may help your family members to avoid unnecessary taxes and to safeguard their inheritances.
- Asset Protection Planning: You and your family have worked hard for what you own. Asset protection planning can help preserve your assets by minimizing exposure to taxes, lawsuits, and creditors.
- Long-Term Care Planning: One of the biggest threats to most people’s financial well-being is the devastating costs of long-term care. A comprehensive estate plan should also consider future long-term care needs.
For more information on how Carolina Family Estate Planning can provide you with a comprehensive estate plan in the Triangle, call our office at 919.443.3035 to discuss next steps, fill out our online form and we’ll call you, or reserve your seat at an upcoming seminar.
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Written by: Alex Ferguson