While it may feel morbid, estate planning at any age is about making sure you have control over your life now and in the future. In this article, we highlight five reasons why you may want to talk to a lawyer now.
1. You have or are planning to have a family
Whether you have young or adult children or have a blended family, you want to make sure that you look after them.
When helping you plan your estate, your lawyer will ask you questions to help identify what you want for your family and then determine how you can achieve this. This may include making sure there is a guardian for your young children or helping you find the best way to structure your assets so that the people you want to receive your assets do.
This can be quite complicated and difficult to do, especially if you have a big family or you want people who aren’t perhaps your closest relatives on paper to benefit from your assets.
For many people, their animals are as much a part of their family as the humans too. A lawyer can help you make sure that your pets are taken care of in your estate planning as well.
2. You want to choose who gets your assets
Even if you do not own a property you will still have assets that are valuable to you or have sentimental value to those you love. Your assets can include anything you own from jewellery to your car or even your vinyl collection. A lawyer can help you make sure all of these assets are included in your will.
For some assets, you may not be able to choose who gets them in your will. These may include insurance, superannuation, trusts that you’re a beneficiary of or even real estate that you own with someone else. A lawyer can give you advice on what you can and can’t include in your will, and whether you can structure your assets differently so you have more say over what happens to them when you pass.
3. You don’t want your loved ones to fight
When someone passes away without a legal will there are specific legal rules to determine who has rights over your assets. This means that the people you want to have your precious items may not receive anything. In some situations, this can lead to disagreements that can turn into expensive and protracted legal issues for your loved ones.
Disagreements can also arise if your loved ones are taken by surprise by what your intentions are. This can often happen if you have had more than one significant relationship in your life or have several children.
A lawyer can help you protect those you love and make sure your intentions are clear when estate planning. While it may feel uncomfortable to talk about what you want when you die, it will save your loved ones a lot of time, expense and emotional turmoil in the long run.
4. You want to specify your medical treatments
If you have a serious accident or are diagnosed with an illness you may need medical or personal care. If you are not able to make decisions for yourself, someone else will have to do this for you. This can range from making decisions about whether you should have a particular surgery, if you should be kept on life support or even what food you should be given to eat.
If you have specific needs or requests, your lawyer can help guide you on the best way to make sure your wishes are met as part of your estate planning. This may include helping you decide who can make those decisions for you and documenting what your wishes are so they are met.
5. You need legal documents to be drafted
Estate planning often involves the creation of legal documents. Depending on your personal needs these may include:
- Power of Attorney;
- Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Makers; and
- Advanced Care Directives.
There are many legal requirements that can mean your documents aren’t legal if they’re not done properly. This means your wishes may not be followed or your loved ones may be able to contest your wishes in court.
Our estate planning lawyers help people create legal documents regularly that outline what their wishes are and make sure their assets go to the people they want. To make sure that your legal documents are valid and complete, MNG Lawyers can help you draft them and give you advice on what else you need to consider so your wishes are carried through when you pass.