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Questions We Often Hear About Estate Planning

What do powers of attorney have to do with estate planning?

A power of attorney allows someone else to handle your financial affairs or make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

Who needs an estate plan?

Anyone with assets and people or causes they care about should have a simple will, at a bare minimum. Without a will, a death would be considered “intestate;” a court would appoint an executor and assets would be distributed according to state laws, without respect for the deceased person’s wishes.

When is a will enough, and when should trusts be part of the plan?

A will is better than no estate plan at all. For many people, one or more trusts can also simplify the transfer of assets after death, minimizing hurdles, legal costs and in some cases, taxes. A pour-over will can account for any assets that come to your estate without being titled to a trust.

I have part ownership of a farm or ranch with other family members. How can I ensure that my portion does not end up with a divorced in-law or anyone else I would not want it to go to?

Many factors may go into the right answer to your question, depending on unique circumstances. Estate planning lawyer Brian M. Cromeens at The Law Office of Brian Michael Cromeens is a rancher himself and has advised many clients with similar concerns.

How can I be sure my testamentary documents will be found and honored when my time comes?

It is good to tell your next of kin where you keep such documents. You can make it obvious through the organization of your personal papers. Your lawyer will keep copies, too, so you should let someone close to you know who that is.

I have a will and other documents already. When will they need to be updated?

Experts recommend a review every three to five years or anytime there are significant changes in your state of residence, family makeup or assets.

How can I get answers to questions about my specific situation?

An exploratory conversation with an experienced lawyer who is also a good listener is an excellent starting point. If you are thinking about these things, it is a good sign that it’s time for you to make an appointment with an attorney. Call The Law Office of Brian Michael Cromeens at 210-848-9048 or send an email inquiry to request a consultation.

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