Legal Zoom has a estate planning checklist this explains some of the intricacies of trusts, assets and beneficiaries. Their site also has a wealth of resources to help you understand all aspects of estate planning, types of wills, legal jargon, unusual aspects of probate (the legal process where all assets and property are dissipated afterwards. death), and more.
In addition to the list of names you come up with, it’s a good rule of thumb to have at least one other person to fill those positions. Circumstances may change and your brother or friend may not be able to complete the task they have accepted – you want a backup in case that happens.
Step two: seek legal aid
Hiring a lawyer to plan your estate can seem like a waste of time or money, especially if you are young and in good health. But that’s when you need to start the process. “It’s much better to set it up in advance because it gives you a chance to think things through… you have time to nominate the best person for each job,” Hess says.
There are online options like Legal Zoom, Rocket lawyer, and NOLO who provide will services with the creation of state-specific legal documents, as well as varying degrees of virtual legal advice to facilitate the process. But there are also many advantages to consulting a lawyer who specializes in wills and estates.
At the University of Tennessee, the Homer A. Jones, Jr. Wills Clinic is managed by the law department of the university. It is made up of law students with a faculty supervisor who is a licensed attorney and must approve all documents sent to clients. According to Hess, “They do all the work that a licensed lawyer who does estate planning would do. They write powers of attorney for health care and financial management, they write living wills, they write wills and trusts. They make approvals and they make guardianship. “
Clinics like UT’s are not anomalies; many universities have them. There are usually income guidelines, but the services are free if you qualify. Most states also have legal aid societies where people can get free or discounted estate planning assistance from licensed attorneys if they cannot pay the full fees.
Step three: choose your document storage solution
The old system of filing everything in a box under your bed has seen many updates in recent years. Websites where you can store and organize all of your healthcare guidelines, beneficiary list, power of attorney documents, wills, trusts, deeds, and more. are just a click away for your loved ones. Making this process easier is one of the best gifts you can give to a grieving person.
Below are some programs for storing encrypted documents for security reasons and will give you peace of mind.
This is a comprehensive site that begins with a questionnaire to check marital status, whether you have existing financial or health guidelines, and status with minor children. Once you’ve completed the inventory, Everplans provides specific instructions on what to tackle first, along with links to helpful articles and resources to demystify the process. It is personalized and specific to a state – this is important because the laws of each state are different.
There is a free version that provides access to articles and resources, but if you want to download and store documents, an annual fee of $ 75 includes a digital safe, access to your appointed assistants (loved ones you provide links), and bank-level security for all documents.
With data security breaches more common than ever, you may be reluctant to put account numbers and personal information on the web, even if it’s encrypted. The Torch does not ask for this type of information. Instead, the site walks you through setting up a profile, filling out a checklist of important documents to help you narrow down what you might be missing, and creating notebooks based on considerations like real estate. , pets and health care.