There are a lot of reasons people justify for not consulting an estate planning lawyer. Many people in St. Louis have yet to consult an estate planning lawyer and there could be serious consequences if something were to happen.

The three main excuses I hear all the time are:

  1. I am not going to die anytime soon and/or that could never happen to me (what are the odds, right?)
  2. I have been way too busy to even begin to think about Estate Planning
  3. It’s hard to think of and/or plan for a future that you are not a part of

Although planning for what happens in the most unfortunate situations is not something that is pleasant, it is very important. Below are five awesome tips for St. Louis Residents who are interested in learning more about Estate Planning services.

Write a Will

If you pass away without a written will, chances are total strangers are going to decide how to split up your estate & how your children will be raised. When someone dies without a will, it is called “dying intestate,” which, by law, leaves the state responsible for dividing up of your estate.

Investigate Life Insurance

Life insurance is smart way to make sure that some of the ends relating to your passing will be taken care of. If you have no one left to support or take care of, life insurance may be something you consider skipping; but for most people, it is a very smart way to take care of those we care about after we are gone.

The purpose of life insurance is to take care of debts like mortgages, car loans, and credit cards. In addition, it can be used to create college funds for children, or grandchildren.

Draw Up End-of-Life Documents

Most people belie that Estate Planning is purely for after death planning. However, Estate Planning is also for defining how we want to be taken care of in situations where we cannot communicate that. There are a few documents you should consider getting drawn up.

Power Of Attorney – By granting someone “power of attorney” designates someone of your choosing to manager your finances & legal affairs in the event you cannot do so on your own or of sound mind.

Release of Information Forms – This form allows medical professionals to share your medical records with designated representatives.

Advance Directives– There are an infinite number of possibilities that can happen to a single person. Advanced Directives give instructions on medical care and what you do and do not what to be done for you in the event you cannot relay the information yourself.

Avoid Probate

We have all herd stories of people who have had to go through probate and their claims that it is actually worse than death itself. In some instances, Probate is a simple process: fill out a few forms and pay a few hundred dollars in filing fees. However, in other situations, there can be months of legal ordeals that cost thousands of dollars and tie up your estate for months.

In order to avoid this mess, there are a number of things you can do. You can put the ownership of your home and car into a family members name in addition to your own; the property will pass along to them immediately upon death. You can also talk to your bank and make your bank accounts transferable or payable upon death, which will give your loved ones immediate access to money if the worst should happen.