Estate Planning

"The future depends on what you do today."

Mahatma Gandhi

Contrary to popular belief, Estate Planning is not just about preparing for death.  It's about exercising control over yourself and your assets. It's about providing for your loved ones. It's about maximizing the value of your physical legacy.

 

A proper estate plan ensures that you get to make decisions today -- with a clear and capable mind -- that will be enforced even when time takes its natural toll on your faculties. It is the ultimate exercise of agency. Do not leave the future to chance. Let's start planning now.

So what do you need? A will?

A will is a good start. With a properly-drafted will, you ensure that your assets get distributed the way you want (with certain caveats).

 

West Virginia, like all states, has something called probate. Probate is the court-supervised process of paying final debts and distributing your assets. After your death, your estate will enter the probate process whether you have a will or not. Without a will, you are considered intestate, and there are laws that govern how your belongings get divided and to whom they are given. With a will, you control how your belongings get distributed -- not the courts.

But...

A will is not an estate plan. A will does nothing to protect your assets from creditors. A will does nothing to give effect to your wishes before you pass. A will, by and large, simply guides the probate process once your debts are satisfied.

An Estate Plan looks like this.

A proper estate plan protects you...

 

Powers of Attorney

If you become unable to make decisions for yourself, you need to appoint someone to act on your behalf.

General Power of Attorney covers your property and finances.

The Medical Power of Attorney covers your medical decisions.

Living Will

Regardless of age, none of us can predict when a life-altering accident or illness may strike. If you are left incapacitated, a living will provides your caregivers with your instructions on how to handle end-of-life care.

 

Combined with a Medical Power of Attorney, your health is covered.

HIPAA Authorization

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of your health information.

 

While privacy is important, it can be very helpful to authorize a trusted person to access your health records in order to ensure that they can help make informed decisions about your care. 

...and it protects your loved ones.

 

Will

Most of us are familiar with the Last Will and Testament. It's that helpful document that directs how to distribute your assets after you pass.

Don't rely on an internet form and risk confusion and expense for your family. Let's work together so your wishes are properly fulfilled.

Trusts

Trusts are key to any good Estate Plan. If established early, they can:

  • Protect your assets from creditors

  • Minimize the hassle of probate

  • Allow smooth asset distribution

  • and much more...

 

Take advantage of the benefits.

Probate

Whether you have a will or not, the court will oversee the management of your estate, including the collection of your assets, the payment of outstanding debts, and the distribution of the assets that remain.

It can be a tedious and lengthy process, but together we can make it better.

Don't wait until the eleventh hour to plan for the future. Let's start the process today and give you peace of mind about tomorrow. Call (304)504-7675. 

James Legal PLLC,  PO Box 640,  Barboursville, WV  25504    304-504-7675
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DISCLAIMER

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this website should be taken as legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice on your specific situation. This information is not intended to create, and viewing or receiving the information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

© 2020 James Legal, PLLC