Have You Planned Your Estate?
Most Virginians die intestate (without a Will). Yet, the preparation of a will is only a part of a complete estate plan. The following list of questions was prepared by Virginia estate planning attorneys to assist potential clients in determining whether or not there are shortfalls in their estate plans.
Have you prepared a will? Although this is not the end of estate planning, it's usually the beginning. Every solid estate plan involves the drafting of a will.
Was your will or trust drafted or reviewed within the past three years? If your will or trust hasn't been reviewed within the last thirty-six months, chances are that something significant has changed. Take the time to review your documents to make sure that they are still consistent with your needs and wishes.
Has your estate planning attorney analyzed your wills and trusts to minimize the tax impact? Most people want their beneficiaries to receive as much from their estate as possible. Minimizing the tax impact on the estate is a way to maximize the assets transferred to your heirs.
Does the trust that you've established allow you to avoid probate? A trust needs to be funded – own your real property and financial accounts and be named as a beneficiary on life insurance or retirement assets – in order to avoid the need for probate.
Is your executor or trustee still the right choice for you? Relationships with people change. The person that you originally selected as your executor or trustee may no longer be best suited for that position.
Do you have a durable power of attorney? A solid estate plan will also deal with the contingency of incapacitation. A will is only effective upon your death. Someone with a power of attorney can make decisions for you in the event that you aren't able to.
Does your will establish a guardian for your minor children or a special needs adult who is in your care? This is one of the most important questions on the minds of parents and caregivers of adults with special needs. Your will can designate a trusted person to fill this role in your absence.
While this is in no way a complete list of estate planning considerations, if you cannot answer "yes" to all of the above questions, your estate plan may need to be revised or updated. Estate plans can be very complex and are subject to both Virginia and federal laws. A qualified, experienced attorney should assist you in forming wills, trusts, powers of attorney, or any other aspects of an estate plan. Contact Hale Ball today to consult with one of our respected estate planning attorneys.
Since 1980 the AV-rated law firm of Hale Ball has served the legal needs of individuals and businesses. Our team of attorneys include lawyers named to Super Lawyer and Rising Star lists, as well as attorneys with advanced legal degrees, specialty certifications and lawyers who teach their areas of practice to other lawyers.
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