Estate planning in Berkeley, Missouri is simply the act of deciding what you want to happen to your assets after your death. It typically entails making plans about funeral arrangements, as well as plans for end of life care.
The creation of a will (the document laying out what is to be done with your property after your death) is an essential element of an estate plan, but it is typically not the only element. There are many other crucial things that most estate plans should include.
A will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most persons have quite strong preferences about their end-of-life care, particularly when, and under what circumstances, they would want to be taken off life support, if that every happens. These wishes should be made in writing, and discussed with family. Furthermore, preferences on organ donation and funeral arrangements should also be made clear.
If you have young children, it is absolutely crucial that you make arrangements for their care, as well as their custody. Obviously, if you want someone specific to take custody of them in the event something happens, you need to discuss the matter with them, to ensure that they are actually able and willing to care for them.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Berkeley, Missouri?
The answer to this question varies on your individual needs, your priorities, your health, and the size and nature of your estate.
If you are young and unmarried, estate planning likely doesn't need to be on your radar, unless you are very ill, independently wealthy, or perhaps if you work in a very hazardous job, such as the military.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Berkeley, Missouri is absolutely necessary: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take various steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
Other groups for whom estate planning is very crucial in Berkeley, Missouri are people who are elderly and/or have a lot of assets. This may be the time in one's life where estate planning is most crucial. While it's true that the process of making an estate plan requires a person to deal directly with the reality of their own mortality, it is very important if you value the security that comes with the knowledge that your family will be provided for.
Do I Need a Berkeley, Missouri Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Berkeley, Missouri can involve some confusing legal and financial issues, it is necessary to undertake this task with the guidance of an experienced attorney who specializes in estate planning.