You want to take care of your loved ones when you are no longer here. The distribution of your property and other assets is something you more than likely want to have control over. It isn’t complicated, but you need to have an experienced wills and estate planning lawyer in Raleigh to make sure that your wishes are met. Planning ahead ensures that you are providing for those you care about as you want to. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, when you die without a will, the distribution of your assets occurs according to North Carolina Law.
Estate planning isn’t only for the wealthy. Everyone can benefit from making sure their assets and finances are properly taken care of after death. Maybe you want to take care of children or grandchildren, or leave a legacy by donating to a charity, you can do this with an estate plan.
The Doyle Law Offices P.A. serve Raleigh and are experienced in creating wills and estate plans. They can work with you to create a plan in directing where your assets go. For over 25 years, wills and estate planning attorney Hank Doyle has assisted clients with:
- Estate Planning
- Estate Administration
- Long-term Care Planning
- Intestate Succession
- Trusts and Living Trusts
- Wills and Last Will & Testaments
- Will Caveats
- Power of Attorney
What is Estate Planning?
An estate plan involves specifying how your will be preserved, managed, and distributed after death. It also takes into account the management of your properties and financial obligations if you become incapacitated. Assets include anything of value such as houses, cars, bank accounts, stocks, jewelry, artwork, life insurance, pensions, and debt.
Wills and Trusts
A will or trust is one of the main components in an estate plan. Even when you don’t have substantial assets, you should have a will. A will ensures that your property is distributed according to your wishes. Some trusts can limit estate taxes or legal challenges. Just having a will or trust isn’t enough--it is critical that the wording of the document is correct. At The Doyle Law Offices, P.A., our estate planning lawyers in Raleigh can make certain all documents are properly created and designed.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is another important component of your estate plan. This document assigns an agent or a person to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so. If you don’t have a durable power of attorney, a court decides what happens to your assets in the event you are found to be mentally incompetent, and their decision may not be what you intended.
You might have assets that pass to heirs outside of a will or trust. Such assets as 401(k) plans, pensions, and life insurance benefits have beneficiaries directly assigned to them. It is important to review these to be sure the beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries are who you want. Again, without beneficiaries assigned, a court could be left to decide how the funds are distributed and the decision may not align with your wishes.
A living will is also called an advanced health care directive, which states what medical treatment you wish to receive, or not, if you lose the ability to make the decision yourself. A living will is one form of an advanced directive, leaving instructions for treatment. The other form is a healthcare power of attorney.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney (HCPA) designates an individual to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you are incapacitated. This person should be someone you trust who would likely recommend a course of action you would agree with. A backup agent should also be identified in case your first choice is not available.
Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is a document that is left to either your executor or your beneficiary that defines what you want to be done with a particular asset after your death or incapacitation. A letter of intent can also provide details regarding a funeral or other special requests. This is not a legal document but, instead, helps inform a probate judge of your intentions. It can also assist in the distribution of your assets if the will is deemed invalid for any reason.