Making plans for what will happen to your physical and financial assets after you pass away is an important task. Proper planning is key in ensuring your wishes are upheld and saving your family additional stress. However, you may not understand all the tools available to you or know which options are most beneficial in your situation. This is where an experienced attorney can be a crucial advocate.
If you want to create an effective estate plan, work with an experienced Wilmington estates lawyer at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya. Once retained, your attorney can explain all your estate planning options, help evaluate your assets, and ensure that your final plan serves your needs.
Creating Enforceable Wills
The most basic element of any estate plan is a last will and testament. In Delaware, anyone over the age of 18 has legal authority to draft a will. In order for this document to be enforceable, the person creating it—known as the “testator”—must put it down in writing and sign it in the presence of two witnesses, both of whom must also sign the will in the testator’s presence.
Wills can include various types of instructions, such as:
- Which beneficiaries will receive what assets
- Who will care for minor children
- Who will manage assets left to minor children
- Who will serve as the estate’s executor
However, any assets divested solely through a will must go through a process called probate before they can be distributed to beneficiaries, which can be time-consuming.
Planning Ahead for Unforeseen Events
Beyond leaving instructions for a person’s property after they pass away, a comprehensive estate plan could also designate trusted individuals to carry out a testator’s wishes should they become incapacitated prior to their death. This is generally done by granting “power of attorney” to a trusted family member or friend. Depending on the specific terms, a POA allows an “agent” to make decisions regarding finances, healthcare, or both on behalf of the “principal.”
Furthermore, it may be necessary in certain situations for a family member to seek legal guardianship over an elderly parent or relative who is no longer capable of caring for themselves. Applying to become an adult’s legal guardian is a significant decision, so it is best to consult a legal professional at our Wilmington office beforehand.
Talk to a Wilmington Estates Attorney Today
Estate planning is an important part of life for any adult who owns property or would like to plan for their family’s future. Regardless of your specific goals, a Wilmington estates lawyer at our firm can walk you through your options and create a plan that best suits your needs.
The estate planning process does not happen to be complicated or stressful if you work with the team at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya. Learn more about how we can help secure your future by calling today.