Heard of electronic wills? These are wills people make online on their own, and then have witnesses and/or a notary E-sign the digital documents. In other words, it is just another do-it-yourself will; it is just never printed. As more people in Missouri and elsewhere are looking for ways to save time and money, this form of estate planning seems ideal. Will E-wills eventually replace estate planning altogether?
There are many benefits to having an estate plan in place, yet many Missouri residents do not. Those who do might be inclined to keep the details of their plans to themselves. While no one really wants to go through the estate planning process, let alone talk to loved ones about it, according to a recently published article, talking about it with one's beneficiaries may be a good idea.
Despite the advice offered up by estate planning experts in Saint Charles for people to do their estate planning early on in their adult lives, a majority of adults still do not have even a will that details how their assets are to be distributed when they die. Your reason for putting off creating your will may be the hope that if you do not create such a document, it will be left to your heirs to decide how to divide your estate (that way, you do not have to worry about offending anyone). Yet that simply is not the case. Rather, if you die without a will (the legal term is for this is "intestate"), it is the state that determines the dispersal of your estate.
It is no longer uncommon for a person in Missouri to get married more than one time over the course of their life. This may be due to the death of a previous spouse or to a divorce. Regardless of the reason that leads a person to get remarried, it is important that they make it a priority to review their estate plans in detail with their new partner.
Most in Saint Charles have likely heard horror stories about the probate process and how it should be avoided at all costs. Indeed, the probate process can prove costly (depending on how long the administration process takes to complete). The funds to pay probate-related costs come directly from an estate’s assets. Given that (according to the Survey of Consumer Finances) the median estate amount in the U.S. is $69,000, this may cause concern that a significant portion of an estate’s assets might go towards paying for probate. Yet those concerns may be unfounded given that Missouri state law allows for smaller estates to bypass the probate process altogether.
A person’s choice of their personal representative may be one of the most important decisions involved in the estate planning process. This is the individual (or in the same cases, the parties) that will be charged with ensuring that one’s final wishes are carried out to their exact specifications. Thus, one should be sure that the person(s) they select are aptly capable of fulfilling the role. Still, circumstances may occur which necessitate the removal of a personal representative during the estate administration process.
It is recommended by estate planning experts in Saint Charles that you create a will early on in your adult life (as you never know when you might die). Your spouse will no doubt factor into your estate planning decisions. What happens, then, if after creating a will (and including provisions which address the distribution of assets to your spouse) you then choose to get a divorce?
Many in Saint Charles may think that the only purpose of estate planning is determining how your assets and property are to be distributed to your beneficiaries upon your death. Yet another major aspect of the process is addressing your end-of-life care (if you happen to be in a position where you might need assistance in making important decisions). Part of this may be deciding who to entrust with power of attorney over your affairs. When seeking assistance with this process, many of those who have come to members of our team here at Stephen A. Martin Attorney at Law have been surprised to learn that there are actually several different forms of power of attorney.
Being transparent in one’s estate planning is encouraged by experts in Saint Charles in order to avoid the potential of disputes arising amongst beneficiaries after one is gone. The reasoning behind this advice is that if beneficiaries know what may be coming to them from one’s estate, they may be less likely to question the validity of the instruments governing it. Yet this can also be a double-edged sword in that if a potential beneficiary believes that they it has been indicated that they will have a specific interest in an estate, they may cry foul if and when that does not turn out to be the case.
Saint Charles residents are encouraged to be transparent in their estate planning. Yet what happens if that transparency puts them in danger. You might dismiss the idea of a beneficiary killing their potential benefactor in order to receive their money to simply be the imaginings of storytellers. Our team here at Stephen A. Martin Attorney at Law can tell you, however, that the potential is real enough that the state has address the issue through legislation.