In business, some people say you have to spend money to make money. In the estate planning world, sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Sounds odd but keep reading to learn how to save money with a complete estate plan.
Documents Included in a Complete Estate Plan
Every family is different, as is every estate. However, some documents commonly make up a complete estate plan, including:
- Last Will and Testament, or Will;
- Durable Power of Attorney; and
- Medical Power of Attorney.
Estate plans often include revocable living trusts and Living Wills.
It’s best to have an attorney prepare these documents for you, rather than using DIY estate planning from the Internet. But, how are you saving money if you pay an attorney to prepare your estate planning documents?
Paying the Costs Up Front Instead of Down the Road
Let’s look at what can happen if you do not have an estate plan, or have an incomplete or incorrect estate plan:
- Wills. You decide who will handle your estate and where your property will go after you are gone. If you left a Will, your estate goes through probate. If you did not leave a Will, your estate still goes through probate, but there’s a catch: probate usually takes longer and is more expensive. During probate, family members may disagree on who should administer your estate. And it’s not uncommon for family members to fight over property left by a loved one. Save everyone the expense of a costly probate. Make your Will now.
- Durable Power of Attorney. In this document, you name an agent who can take over your affairs if you become incapacitated. If you don’t have an agent, no one will be able to automatically handle your finances. Family members will have to file for a conservatorship to take care of you. Legal fees will rise as your bills go unpaid and valuable assets disappear or lose their value. Save your family the trouble and expense – make a durable power of attorney now.
- Health Care Power of Attorney. Similar to a durable power of attorney, but you will be naming an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. If you fail to sign a health care power of attorney – also called an advanced directive or medical power of attorney – no one will be authorized to speak with your health care providers. Someone will have to apply for a guardian to be appointed on your behalf. Filing fees, expenses, and attorney’s fees can add up fast. Help your family in the future by signing a health care power of attorney now.
Save on Future Costs with a Complete Estate Plan
Attorney Bruce Adams helps clients just like you with their estate planning needs. For a free consultation with an experienced Alabama attorney, contact us at 256-237-3339. Located in Anniston, we serve clients in Calhoun, Etowah, and St. Clair Counties.