What will your legacy be after you're gone? It's a difficult question. With the right planning, though, at the very least you can protect your loved ones from disputes over your assets and debts. For you and your heirs, effective estate planning can provide the great benefits of clarity and peace of mind.
There are steps that should not be overlooked, however. As we've said before, a will is the foundational document in any estate plan, and no one should forego drafting a will. But if you want to shape your estate so that all of the bases are covered, then you may want to consider a range of useful estate planning instruments, such as powers of attorney, health care directives and trusts.
For many people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the probate process is already a headache. If there is a dispute between family members or business partners, then the dispute could lead to probate litigation, which is adversarial and not the kind of legacy you want to leave. However, probate litigation is sometimes necessary, and anyone faced with this situation should have a good probate lawyer.
All of this is to say that difficulties in probate can be avoided with comprehensive estate planning. For example, through the creation of certain kinds of trusts, estates can avoid the time and expense of probate altogether. The key is to do the planning.
Attorney Mark L. Moseley, of Landrum & Shouse LLP, works with an estates and trusts team to cover all of the bases and make estate planning smooth for clients. Whether you have modest assets or a high net worth, there are estate planning options for choosing the legacy you want to leave.