North Carolina Estate PlanningWhether you are newly married, just had your first child, or are creeping up on your retirement, it’s a good idea to start thinking about putting together your estate plan. Creating an estate plan will help you to find peace of mind by knowing that in a moment of crisis, those closest to you would be taken care of.

There are many downfalls to failing to create an estate plan, not the least of which include having your children taken into protective custody if you haven’t named a guardian, and not purchasing adequate life insurance to care for your loved ones when you pass on.

In addition, without a will or trust in place, your assets could be withheld from your intended beneficiaries for months or even years by the courts.

But, there are a lot of best practices, as well as some potholes to avoid when planning out your estate. This post will review everything you need to know so you can move forward with your estate plan and not be concerned about the future.

North Carolina Estate Planning Best Practices

Let’s face it, estate planning is not easy. If it were, then everyone would have an estate plan. Instead, roughly 70% of Americans with children under the age of 18 do NOT have even a simple will in place, let alone a comprehensive estate plan.

And why don’t people plan? Some people think that it’s too expensive, some don’t have a trusted lawyer to help them, and the vast majority of families “just haven’t gotten around to it.”

So how can you get started in a simple and pain-free way? Here are a couple of ideas for you as we get ready to start a new year.

Common Estate Planning Mistakes

So you’ve made the decision to move forward and get your estate plan done. Congratulations!

Now, make sure you don’t make these common estate planning mistakes:

Have You Considered Legacy Planning?

One of the frequently overlooked aspects of preparing a full and comprehensive estate plan is the intellectual property you may want to pass down. We call this The Legacy Conversation™.

North Carolina Estate PlanningCooking was very important to my mother, so after she was diagnosed with cancer she typed up all her favorite recipes (things my siblings and I loved as kids) and organized them in a three-ring binder so that we would always have her food! I was so happy to have this binder when it came time to make Christmas cookies this year with my kids!

But family cookbooks are just one facet of legacy planning. You can also record your thoughts with a microphone, prepare a video of yourself, or simply hand-write letters to your kids at various stages of their future lives.

Here at The Hart Law Firm, we offer a service to all of our estate planning clients called The Legacy Conversation™ at the conclusion of the estate planning process. Fill out this contact form to learn more.

Final Thoughts on Planning Your Estate

It is important that you take a good deal of time to really think about and map out what would happen to your family if something happened to you.
Do you want your spouse making all the decisions, or do you want someone else to have a say?

Do you know who the temporary and permanent guardians for your children should be?

Have you considered who you want to be the executor of your estate?

Have you considered who will take care of your pets? You need to determine who you want to care for your animals when you can’t, and you may even want to provide some cash to this individual via a pet trust to pay for your pet’s food and medical expenses. Make sure that the lawyer you hire for your estate plan will include this service in their overall fee.

Once you have taken some time to plan everything out, you will start to feel much better about not only the process of estate planning but the fact that your family, beneficiaries and other loved ones will be properly cared for and your wishes will be honored.

If you have further questions or would like to sit down and talk to Cary Estate Planning Attorney James Hart, you may contact our office at (919) 460-5422 or fill out our online contact form.