We need to give more thought to our golden years beyond retirement. While many of us have a retirement plan in place, we often lack the plan to deal with a health crisis, personal care, and care of our finances as we age. The estate planning attorneys at White & Jocham help organize estate plans so our loved ones know our wishes and avoid potential financial burdens. We streamline the estate administration process. Legal services we offer include, but are not limited to:
Determining Your Executor
When a loved one passes away, it is difficult for the remaining family members and friends. While they may want to concentrate on the grieving process, they must also consider administering the deceased’s estate. Whoever is named as the estate executor (sometimes called the personal representative or administrator) must resolve everything related to the deceased’s affairs and last wishes. Even under the best circumstances, probate can be complex. The role of the executor is crucial and has a lot of responsibilities. White & Jocham are here to guide you through.
Tasks an Executor Performs
- Verify the will is valid.
- Prepare an inventory of all the estate’s assets.
- Resolve outstanding debts.
- Locate all heirs.
- Sell off any estate property.
- Distribute the remaining property to heirs according to the decedent’s final wishes.
- Prepare a final accounting in detail.
- Complete all required tax filings and resolve any payments to cover federal, state, and estate taxes.
Out-of-State Executor Guidance
Having an out-of-state executor can make the probate process more difficult. The attorneys at White & Jocham utilize the latest technology to ensure that the process is more accessible and minimizes the travel needed.
Estate Administration Tasks
In general, the process for probate and estate administration will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the estate. The main scenarios for probate are:
There is no will or trust.
The decedent’s assets are passed to family members per the state’s intestate (a term for if someone dies without a will) succession laws. Probate is likely still needed, but it will take longer since the court has to appoint an estate representative first.
There is a will.
Assets will be subject to probate, which can take months or longer if there are disputes between beneficiaries/heirs.
There is a trust.
Distribution of assets to beneficiaries can be handled privately, without involving the probate court.
There is both a will and trust.
Some decedents have both a will and a trust that controls some assets. In these situations, we can handle the probate process and distribution of funds held in a trust simultaneously.
When your loved ones rely on you for their health and welfare, and you suddenly cannot provide for them, you need to ensure they are looked after by someone you trust – a guardian.
There are two types of guardianship – guardianship of the estate and guardianship of the person. It is essential to name someone you trust to be the guardian of your loved ones, whether it is only for finances or their physical well-being.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that authorizes another individual to oversee all financial matters should the person become incapacitated or otherwise incapable of doing so. To ensure that your advanced medical directives are adhered to, you can also draft a healthcare power of attorney. These can be the same individual, or you can have two different people – one for your finances and the other for medical care.
What is a durable power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney means that you’re giving a trusted person the legal right to act as your representative. A power of attorney is a safety net that you can rely on to have your wishes followed through if any unexpected accident or injury occurs. The first step to attaining a durable power of attorney is to speak with the experienced estate planning attorneys at White & Jocham.