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Do you need an estate plan?

Many people in Elizabethtown and much of the surrounding area may not think they have much need for estate planning. They may believe they should have a will, but beyond that, they think they are fine. But an estate plan can and should do more than just contain a will that transfers property after your death. An estate plan should take a comprehensive look at your future and help you plan for both the unexpected and inevitable.

A will is important, even if you have a modest estate. While it may transfer your assets in a similar fashion to Kentucky's intestate succession law, which operates in the absence of a will, a will can ensure your wishes are carried out for all property. For instance, if you have children, a will can allocate your personal property, such as jewelry, furniture, china, guns or other items of value, sentimental or monetary, to specific individuals. This can prevent disputes between your family members that can fester for years after your death.

A trust can help by transferring property without the need to go to the probate court. This can save time and expense, and protect your family's financial privacy, as proceeding in the probate court create a public record, searchable by anyone.

Your estate plan should also include powers of attorney and healthcare directives, that can ensure that your affairs can be carried on in the event of your incapacity. Without a durable power of attorney, your family might not be able to pay bills or make other financial decisions on your behalf.

These documents are important for younger people, as health conditions like a stroke can strike unexpectedly and severe injuries from a motor vehicle crash could leave anyone at any age incapacitated.

Your attorney can explain which instruments would be appropriate for your specific situation and help you assemble the estate plan that will protect you and your family.

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