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FAQ

You have questions? ELC has answers.

Check out a few of the most frequently asked questions below, and contact me if you need more information.

What if I choose not to create a plan? 

While this may not be a situation we want to envision, it is important to be aware of what may happen if there are no plans created. The short answer is that your family often must rely on the court to determine how to handle very sensitive and important decisions. This can include your end-of-life healthcare wishes,  distributing any assets you own at the time of your death, and even the selection of your children's guardian.

Can my estate plan be changed?

Absolutely! Almost all estate plans and planning documents can be modified, though the process for doing so differs depending on the document. If you have an existing plan that you’d like modified, I’m happy to help. If you’re just wondering about what might happen down the road, we can chat about the necessary process for making changes so you can feel prepared. When should your estate plan be updated? Check out this blog post to learn more.

Should I tell my family about my estate plans?

This is a personal decision based on your family dynamic. While I recommend discussing it if you feel comfortable, there are individuals that decide not to for various reasons.  At a minimum, it is important to tell someone about where to find your estate plan. It does not have to be a family member or a beneficiary; it can be a neighbor or a friend. But in the event that something happens, your family can’t follow your plan if they can’t find it. Read more here

Can my family challenge my will or trust after I die?

The simple answer is yes. For this reason, it’s important to talk with your attorney about what challenges you anticipate, and what mechanisms might be available to prevent it. If you feel comfortable, you can also talk with your beneficiaries about your wishes and your estate plan, so that they know what to expect.

Where should I keep my estate planning documents?

If you use ELC to prepare your estate plan, you’ll receive a binder with your printed and signed estate plan documents and a flash drive with electronic copies. Many individuals keep their estate planning documents in their home, often in a water- and fire-proof lockbox. Make sure someone else has the key or combination and knows where to find it. I do not suggest a safe deposit box for most people, as it is not easy for another person to access this in an emergency or in the event that you pass away.

How do I know what is right for me?

Estate planning is a complex matter, and no one solution fits every situation. For example, if you have only a few assets and no young children, it may make more sense to have a will than a trust. On the other hand, a blended family will have more unique estate planning needs. To determine what may be the best for you, we’ll have a conversation to figure out the extent of your estate, and, more importantly, your goals.

What is an "incapacity plan" and do I need one? 

An incapacity plan is a set of documents to outline your choices in the event that you can no longer make decisions and act on your own behalf. More importantly, though, these documents give someone (whomever you pick!) the legal authority to follow through on those wishes. A complete incapacity plan will include documents for medical care, end-of-life care and decision-making, and financial powers. This is included in any estate planning package, or you can choose to do a standalone incapacity plan. You can learn more about incapacity plans and documents here!

Do I need a whole package? Can I just get the document I need? 

I will not twist your arm here. You can definitely just get the document(s) you are looking for. That said, I offer packages because they include multiple estate planning documents for a bundled price--and this gives you a complete plan to protect yourself and your assets. If price is a concern, I do offer payment plans. If you think that you may only need one or two documents, though, let's chat! I'm happy to provide precisely what you're looking for. 

Do I need an estate plan?

I believe everyone needs to have some form of estate plan, though what this looks like is different for everyone. For individuals without children or any large assets, it can be as simple as lining up Powers of Attorney and a Healthcare Directive (also known as a living will), which are important for while you’re still alive. For families with minor children and significant assets, they’ll want to explore other options as well, such as setting up a trust and nominating a guardian. I’m happy to chat through all of this with you!

What is "probate"?

Probate refers to the process of the court handling affairs for people that cannot handle their own. This isn’t just for after someone dies; probate court also handles issues for minor children (under 18 in Missouri) or incapacitated adults. Unfortunately, probate court proceedings can be costly and time-consuming. While not all estate planning avoids probate, there are ways to get around it, such as through the use of a trust. Learn more about probate basics here

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Do you handle probate cases or trust administration?

I'm happy to chat with you to see if I can help.

How can I learn more?

Check out ELC's blog  and resource links! Have a question that isn't covered here or on the blog? Send me a message!