Reaching out to an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa, is the best way to ensure your family knows how to handle your estate after your death. An estate is an important legacy for those you leave behind, and while it may seem like the end of the road for you, it’s just the beginning for those who will be sorting through your assets, debts, and other belongings.
An estate planning lawyer can help you establish guidelines and instructions for your family, friends, and other beneficiaries after your death. If you care about providing the best future possible for those you’ll leave behind, it’s always a wise decision to get in touch with the right legal help. Once you establish a will or living trust, you can rest easy knowing your family will know what to do when you die. But what happens if you don’t leave any instructions?
An Inheritance Without a Will?
A will or trust leaves important instructions behind for your family and friends, and if you don’t work with an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, to draft up these valuable instructions ahead of time, your family and friends will suffer for it. Arguing over an inheritance has the potential to rip families apart and destroy relationships, and it can be extra stress on top of an already stressful situation: People are grieving, so chances are they aren’t totally thinking straight.
Additionally, if you’ve left behind a will but failed to leave proper instructions on who should be responsible for managing your estate, a probate court can choose an executor instead. This court-appointed representative is usually a spouse or other family member, but if your family has been fighting (or you had a demanding – and possibly vindictive – ex-wife or ex-husband), this can become a point of contention.
In these instances, probate (the process of managing and distributing your estate) can drag out for months, and even years. All the more reason to make sure you have the right estate planning lawyer helping you out before your death.
FAQs Regarding Estate Planning
1. What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is simply a collection of legal documents that details your wishes for how to care for your estate. It can also include your medical care wishes and expectations, should you become unable to make such decisions for yourself. An estate plan can include a will, trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and/or letter of intent.
What you choose to include will depend on your intentions for your estate plan and the specifics of your circumstances. The Law Group of Iowa can help you through the process of planning and drafting these documents.
2. Do I Really Need a Will?
Yes, plain and simple. Many people have a misconception about who needs to create a will. The truth is everyone should have one, not just wealthy, elderly people with contentious familial relationships. Traditionally considered assets like real estate and bank accounts are not the only things that can hold value. During times of grief, family squabbles can occur over anything. That can include high-value property, but it can also include your grandmother’s pasta pot or a recorded VHS tape of your 1995 summer vacation. To avoid the stress of indecision and fighting amongst surviving family members, reach out to an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, to discuss obtaining a will.
3. When Should I Create an Estate Plan?
Sooner is better than later. You likely already know that life is unpredictable, and being as prepared as possible for future inevitabilities is a good idea. Creating a will now can give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Illness and injury can occur at any age. Don’t wait until it’s too late. When you decide to take action on this important process, work with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA.
4. I Have an Estate Plan, Do I Need to Update It?
Probably. There is no set amount of time that you must update your estate plan, however, the general consensus is that a review should occur every three to five years. You should also consider making amendments anytime a major life event occurs. This can be a marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, move to a new state, or death of a beneficiary. You want to ensure your will or estate plan includes the most recent version of your wishes. The Law Group of Iowa can help you make adjustments to your current estate plan.
Do’s and Don’ts of Planning Your Estate
Do: Create a Will
A last will is one of the most important documents you can regarding your estate. An estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, can I help you build a last will divide your property and designate a guardian for any minor children you have.
it may seem unimportant at the time, but the sooner you take care of your estate, the better off you’ll be. The Law Group of Iowa is here to help you make the best possible plans for your family after you’ve passed.
Do: Have End-Of-Life Care Plans
A living will is another extremely important document to have; it can inform your family and medical team of your last requests if you’re unable to communicate them yourself. Health care directives and advanced directives are similar documents that can also help finalize your end-of-life plans.
Don’t: Neglect Your Pets
If you’re especially close with your pets, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re included in your will. Unless you’ve specifically designated a caretaker for them, you’ll have no control over where they go or what happens to the math you pass away. They technically count as your property and are usually included in a last will.
Do: Consider a Power of Attorney
If you ever reach a point where you’re unable to speak for yourself, having a power of attorney that you trust in place can make all the difference. This person can speak on your behalf and help fulfill any requests you might have. If you don’t spring for a power of attorney, designating an executor from your family is another good option. The Law Group of Iowa can help you make the right decision.
Don’t: Forget to Revise
Once you’ve finished your last will and testament, you weren’t done; if you experience any major life changes such as a birth, death in the family, major injury, serious changes in employment or anything else in this vein, it’s important to update your will accordingly. When you do make changes to your will, make sure you do so under the guidance of an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA.
Do: Seek Legal Counsel
Unless you have a background in law, chances are there are plenty of restrictions, rules and statutes you need to follow when developing your last will. Always make sure that you’re building these important legal documents with the assistance of an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA.
Get in Touch with Law Group of Iowa
An estate planning lawyer can make a huge difference in how your estate is managed after you pass away. Instead of leaving your assets and debts behind haphazardly for your family to argue over, an estate planning lawyer can help you create a will or living trust. These important documents name the beneficiaries, the assets and debts, and your instructions – and they can be an important tool for those who are still trying to make sense of your passing.
At Law Group of Iowa, we know how important it is to take as much care as possible of our loved ones – even after we die. No family should have to deal with an inadequate will, or the bitterness that can surface during the arguing over property, collections, money, and other assets. Contact an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, and ensure a better future – not for yourself, but your family and those you care about.
What is an Estate Planning Lawyer?
While you may be familiar with a Last Will and Testament, it is only one of many documents that make up an Estate Plan. Estate planning involves the preparation of any document required to transfer or protect your property at death.
An estate planning lawyer Des Moines, IA is a legal professional who helps individuals, families, and businesses create wills, trusts, and other legal documents to protect their assets. They can also help administer estates after someone has passed away. If you are looking for peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone, then hiring an estate planning lawyer like the Law Group of Iowa is a wise decision.
As with any legal matter, it’s important to do your research before choosing an estate planning lawyer Des Moines, IA. Ask around for referrals or read online reviews to find the best estate planning lawyer for your needs. Once you’ve found one, be sure to ask about their experience in this specific field, as well as their fees.
Wills vs Trusts:
A will is a document that directs how your property should be distributed after your death. A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the trustee) holds legal title to property for another person (the beneficiary). The trustee manages the property for the benefit of someone else. Estate planning lawyers can help you choose between these two options, depending on your situation and needs.
Facts to Consider When Estate Planning
A will is a critical part of estate planning, but it’s not the only factor to consider. Regardless of how comfortable you may feel with your current situation, it’s important to always be planning for the future. One way to do that is by creating an asset protection plan. This involves organizing your finances in a way that protects your most valuable assets in case something unexpected happens.
Here are some other factors to think about when putting together your estate plan:
1. The type of assets you own.
When it comes to estate planning, one of the most significant things to consider is what assets will transfer to your beneficiaries after your death. While some assets, like retirement accounts and life insurance policies, are relatively straightforward, other types of assets can be a bit more complicated.
2. Your beneficiaries’ ages and financial situations.
If you have older beneficiaries, you may be more concerned about their financial situation. No matter what your beneficiary’s age or situation is, it’s significant to plan for the future. Talk to an estate planning attorney today to learn more about how you can protect your loved ones.
3. Your state’s estate tax laws.
The estate tax is a tax levied on the assets of a deceased person. Each state has its own set of rules governing who is subject to the estate tax and how much they pay. In some states, estates above a certain size are subject to the estate tax, while in others, only estates worth a certain amount are taxed. Knowing your state’s estate tax laws is important for ensuring that your loved ones don’t have to bear an unexpected financial burden after you die.
If you have any other questions about Estate Planning or would like to speak with an estate planning lawyer in Des Moines, IA, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Group of Iowa. We would be happy to help!