The American Bar Associated revealed that over half of Americans pass away without planning their estate, which leads to many issues on how their relatives can obtain assets and other properties without a legally-binding will left behind.
If you don’t want to be a part of this statistics, and wish to ensure the future of your family should you become physically/mentally disabled or succumb to an untimely death, a trusts and estates lawyer could guide you through estate planning. Here are 7 questions you should be prepared to answer:
- If you and your spouse die at the same time, who do you assign as guardian for your kids? – Mortality triggers weird feelings when addressed, but this one of the most important questions you and your spouse should decide.
- If you and your primary family all die in unfortunate accident/disaster, who gets your estate? If your spouse/partner and descendants die with you, and no obvious succession remains, who will receive your estate and assets? Are you going to give it to your parents? Siblings? Or a non-related person/organization such as a charity?
- Do you have other relationships who you wish to be included in your will? This includes any other person with whom you have an intimate relationship with (aside from your spouse).
- Do you have other descendants? Illegitimate children can claim a percentage of a deceased parent’s estate, but without a will, they have to go through a long process. Sometimes, such cases can even go to trial, particularly when legitimate children are fighting the claim.
- Who will take care of your pets? If you have family pets that you would leave behind, a pet trust will determine who gets to take care of them.
- Who gets access of your online accounts? Your lawyer will need your account names, passwords, and even security questions of e-mails, social networking accounts, and the like. This is important especially for those who keep work-related documents online.
- When you get sick, who decides about your health? Would you want to assign someone to handle all your medical-related decisions if you are mentally or physically unable to do so? The lawyer will also ask when you want the plug pulled, in order to include a health care directive.
Note that that the job of a trusts and estates lawyer isn’t to be nosy, but to collect as much information as possible and plan a person’s estate properly.
If you are in Illinois and is seeking a St. Charles Trusts and Estates Lawyer to help plan your estate and write down a will/trust, give Jackson Abdalla Law Group a call at (773) 550-3853 for a free initial consultation.