It’s hard to face the fact that you won’t always be here. It’s even more difficult to confront the possibility of your own incapacitation. Life is unpredictable, and, in an instant, you could leave your family with the impossible task of moving on without you. There’s not much you can do to prevent the unexpected, but you can be prepared so that if the worst happens, your wishes are known, and your family and assets are protected.
When you make a comprehensive estate plan with the Kentucky estate lawyers at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey, you can rest assured that your family will not be burdened with uncertainty, and your property will not be distributed by a Kentucky probate court without your input. When you tell us about your family and your goals for the future, we will recommend a plan that will protect them both.
What Should Every Kentucky Estate Plan Have?
Estate plans are not just for the very wealthy. Everyone needs the kind of protection an estate plan executed by an experienced Kentucky estate attorney can provide. At a minimum, our team recommends the following:
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
If you are incapacitated by a brain injury, serious illness, or dementia, you want a trusted friend or family member to be able to advocate for you and make health care decisions on your behalf. With this power of attorney document, you appoint a trusted individual to be your voice with doctors, insurance companies, and, if necessary, in front of a judge. Along with the document, you can provide instructions for your representative and outline your wishes for resuscitation and end-of-life care.
General Power of Attorney
This document gives a designated representative the power to make a broad range of financial and property decisions when you are unable to do so for yourself. The person you name will have complete authority over your financial accounts, personal property, real estate holdings, safe deposit boxes, and tax returns. They will be able to pay bills, represent your interests in legal proceedings, and manage your accounts while you are incapacitated or unavailable, but not after your death.
Last Will and Testament
A will is a legal document that goes into effect upon your death and serves several purposes. It names an executor to oversee your estate in probate, specifies who you want to inherit specific possessions and dollar amounts, and names guardians for underage children. A properly executed will can save time and money during the probate process. If you die without a will, the probate court will decide who inherits your estate according to Kentucky state law, not according to your wishes.
If you have more complicated needs than what can be accomplished with a simple will, your attorney may advise you to draft a living trust. A trust is a legal entity that holds property during your lifetime and distributes it to beneficiaries according to your wishes after your death. Assets held in trust do not have to go through probate before being distributed. While you are alive, you have full access to the property and assets held in the trust, although you are no longer technically the owner. Trusts are an important and valuable tool for estates of all sizes. Your attorney will help you determine what kind of trust makes the most sense for you.
Beyond these core documents, our experienced estate planning team will help you round out your estate plan once we know more about your family, assets, goals for the future, charitable aspirations, and more. We take the time to get to know you so that we can build a custom estate plan that meets your specific needs.
We Have the Answers You Need For Estate Planning
Many people put off meeting with a Kentucky estate attorney about an estate plan because they don’t know what they want. They don’t know who to choose as a power of attorney or a guardian. They don’t know what their end-of-life wishes are. They don’t know anyone who would make a good executor. We understand the indecision, but we can help! Schedule an initial meeting with our team, and we will draw on our five decades of experience to guide you through the decision-making process. Anything can happen tomorrow. When it comes to estate planning, there is no time like today!