ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEYS IN ALBANY, OREGON
Estate planning should be a part of anyone’s long-term objectives. And, even though most people agree they need a will, the majority are still without one. According to a poll done by SeniorLiving.org, only 35% of respondents aged 45 to 60 said they have a will, with a whopping 52% of them saying they know it’s necessary but they don’t have one.
So, why aren’t more people drafting a will or establishing a trust? Many people can feel overwhelmed by all the decisions in front of them and may end up putting this task off. However, the sooner you get started, the more time and money you’ll save.
At Felling & Reid, LLC, we can help you with all of your estate planning needs. From our offices in Albany, Oregon, we’re able to serve clients throughout Polk, Lincoln, Marion, Benton, and Linn counties. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
Why Estate Planning Is Important
Estate planning is a legal process where you make arrangements for what happens with your assets after you pass away. In its simplest form, your plan will assign beneficiaries to inherit your property after your death, but a comprehensive estate plan can also include provisions that aren’t directly related to this. You can also assign someone to have power of attorney over your finances should you become incapacitated, outline your end-of-life healthcare wishes, or assign a guardian to minor children or adult children with special needs.
None of us can predict the future, which makes it essential that everyone—regardless of age or level of health—start estate planning to ensure their loved ones are looked after and their wishes are honored. If you pass away without a will (known as dying intestate), the burden of your estate administration will be left to your loved ones and the court and you’ll have no control over what happens. A thorough estate plan can also help reduce their future anxiety by setting up a trust to avoid the costly and lengthy process of probate.
Documents That May Be
Included in an Estate Plan
No two estate plans will be alike because no two lives are alike. A well-written estate plan will be specifically tailored to your needs and can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. Most estate plans begin with a will, which can list your assets and beneficiaries, assign guardianship for minor children, and name your executor. The executor will be responsible for administering the provisions of your plan, so this should be someone responsible who you know will follow your requests and make decisions in your best interests.
Wills are a great starting point, but many people also choose to use a living trust as well. When you place assets in a trust, you transfer ownership out of your name and into a trustee’s so that when you pass away the assets can be automatically transferred to your beneficiaries and will not have to go through the courts first. Trusts are also very flexible since you'll still have control over it during your lifetime and can move assets in and out, as well as add, remove, or change beneficiaries.
Another essential document in your estate plan should be an advance healthcare directive (also called a living will). This document lays out your medical wishes should you become incapacitated or unable to communicate and can include directions on end-of-life care, the use of life-sustaining treatments, or medical treatment you do or do not want. It can also name someone to make healthcare decisions for you.
Lastly, you should consider choosing a power of attorney to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf in specific situations. This can help avoid a conservatorship, wherein the court decides who should be in charge of your affairs.
How Your Attorney Can Help
Throughout all this, it’s important to work with a local estate planning attorney who understands the intricacies of Oregon law and knows how to best maximize the benefits for your heirs and reduce unnecessary legal expenses. An experienced attorney will work closely with you to truly understand your needs and craft an estate plan specific to you. They’ll also ensure your plan is enforceable, minimizing in-fighting and reducing the possibility it will be contested. They can also assist your executor with any probate administration they have to go through as well as represent them through any estate litigation.
Estate Planning Attorneys in Albany, OR
No one likes to think about their own mortality, but the more time you take now planning for your future, the better off you and your loved ones will be. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing your affairs are in order and your beneficiaries will receive your assets efficiently. If you’re in the Albany, Oregon, region and would like to speak with an attorney about your estate planning questions, contact us today at Felling & Reid, LLC.