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The Hawkins Law Firm
256-502-4444

160 N. Brindlee Mountain Parkway
Arab, AL 35016

5 Essential Steps For Estate Planning

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A solid estate plan is one of the important financial planning arrangements every adult must-have. Your estate is the total of your assets.

Estate planning has gone beyond just a means to organize our assets or who gets them when we die. Among other advantages, it is also useful in deciding what should happen in case one becomes incapacitated.

If you are considering starting the process of creating your estate plan but are not sure what to expect, our estate planning attorney in Guntersville has prepared this guide for you. Here, you will learn the 5 essential steps your estate planning process should involve.

#1: Create an inventory of what you own and owe

Start by cataloging all the things you own (tangible or not). You may have tangible assets like homes, automobiles/cars, valuable objects, and the like. Your intangible assets will include savings in banks, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, insurance policies, retirement plans, and individual retirement accounts.

If your assets are too spread out to accurately determine what you own, or if you would just like to secure help at this stage, a professional valuer can help you determine your net worth.

#2: Protect your interest and that of your loved ones

After an inventory of what you own, the next step is to find means to protect your assets for your benefit and the benefit of your loved ones. Getting life insurance – if you do not have one already – is key. This is an important decision if you have a spouse or kids.

Naming a guardian and backup guardian for your kids is also another great step to take, especially if you have minor children. This way, you can be sure your children will be well-taken care of, should you be unable to see to their care by yourself.

There are so many other ways to use estate planning to protect your asset and the interest of your loved ones, including setting up a trust. Contact our attorneys to learn more about your options.

#3: Establish your directives

What exactly do want to do with your assets? How do you want to be treated in case you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated? A proper estate plan will take care of these. The legal directives you may put in place with an estate plan include:

  • Will: As generally known, a will is a document that expresses one’s wish on the division of one’s assets after death.
  • Trust: With a living trust, you can apportion part of your assets even while being alive. The trust assets may then transfer to your designated beneficiaries upon your demise.
  • Advance Health Care Directive: This directive is used to specify your wishes for medical care in case you become unable to make those decisions yourself.
  • Durable Financial Power of Attorney: By this directive, you can grant another person the authority to act on your behalf in legal and financial situations. This is especially useful for instances when you are unable to do so or you become incapacitated.

#4: Review your beneficiaries

You should review your beneficiaries next. In a lot of instances, beneficiaries named on specific accounts will get superior rights over those named generally. As a result, you should pay close attention to who your exact beneficiaries are and what they will be getting.

#5: Get the professional help of an estate planning attorney in Guntersville

There are several advantages that getting professional help offers. An experienced estate planning attorney can offer you more insight into your options to protect your assets and the interest of your loved ones.

Big or small, there is an estate planning that fits everyone. In Guntersville, as with the rest of Alabama, very few attorneys do estate planning like The Hawkins Law Firm. With more than 25 years of business and corporate law experience, Lana Hawkins can help you find the estate plan that fits your needs.

Schedule an online consultation here or call 256-502-4444 to find out the many ways we can be of service to you.

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