Too many Americans fail to take crucial steps to protect the financial future of their families. A survey by Caring.com shows six out of every 10 adults do not have an estate plan drawn up. Even more alarming is that fewer than four have designated guardians for their children.

Setting up a comprehensive estate plan here in North Carolina is an essential step to protect you and your loved ones. You don’t need to be wealthy or even own real estate, and it’s not something you should only think about when you get older.

Create a plan with these vital documents

Think of an estate plan as a way to protect your interests before and after you die and making sure your wishes are respected if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. A comprehensive plan includes:

  • Creating a will: This basic document spells out how you want your assets distributed after your death and names an executor – usually a trusted friend or relative – to carry out your wishes.
  • Naming a guardian: If both parents die, it’s essential that you designate someone you trust to care for your children and manage their future well-being. This designation can be included in your will.
  • Setting up a power of attorney: If you become injured or ill and can’t make financial or medical decisions for yourself, this document allows you to name someone who will make those decisions for you.
  • Prepare an advance directive: Also known as a living will, this document details your wishes for end-of-life care, including what types of treatments or medicines you want or don’t want.
  • Consider a living revocable trust: Transferring your assets after your death using a trust can help your estate remain private and avoid probate while allowing your assets to be distributed to your heirs faster and potentially reducing tax liability.

Seek knowledgeable and compassionate legal advice

While do-it-yourself software programs are available, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for estate planning, as each person’s needs, as well as those of their family, are different. An experienced and diligent estate planning attorney here in North Carolina can answer all your questions over putting a plan in place and protecting you and your family’s future.

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