By Your Side Through Every Step Of The Estate Planning Process

Everyone needs an estate plan and most people don’t realize that everyone over the age of 18 already has an estate plan – whether they personally designed it or not. This is because the state of Mississippi has a plan for you if you fail to plan for yourself. The state’s plan is called the intestate laws. These are the laws that govern what happens to your things after you die, even if that is not what you would have chosen. A personally prepared and crafted estate plan can take the place of these intestate laws and assure that your assets and possessions go to the people you choose. It is about getting the things you own to the people you love in the way and manner you design.

Whether you just got married, had your first child or retired years ago, it is never too early or too late to secure your wishes for the future. If the estate planning process seems overwhelming, you are not alone. It can be even worse for your loved ones if you pass away without a plan. I went through the process with my parents and experienced first-hand how overwhelming and confusing it can be to be faced with unraveling a loved one’s lifetime of papers and records. A proper plan would have saved so much heartache frustration.

My experiences made me realize how important proper estate planning is and how valuable legal guidance can be. I am attorney Angela Davis-Morris and at Davis-Morris Law Firm in Hattiesburg, I use my estate planning knowledge and experience to ensure that my clients are prepared, comfortable and confident throughout the process.

When you work with me and my team, you will receive compassionate guidance throughout the estate planning process. We will take the time to understand what is important to you and help you create a customized plan just for you.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is used to determine the management and distribution of your estate and assets during your life and after you pass away. An estate plan can include an outline of your wishes for your funeral, powers of attorney, guardianship appointments for minor children and health care directives.

Estate Planning is also a plan for protecting what you have while you are alive. It can even help you be financially prepared for long-term care costs in the event that you need it. A strong and comprehensive estate plan involves education and discussions with your family, making plans, and ensuring everyone is comfortable and confident in their next steps. A thorough estate plan is a legal structure for the accumulation, protection, and distribution of assets during one’s life and upon death. Proper planning essentially falls into one of the following categories:

  • Traditional Planning – Last Will and Testament, Health Care Directives, Power of Attorneys, Revocable Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Modern Planning – Single people, unmarried couples, blended families – each unique challenge requires special attention and counsel
  • Long Term Care PlanningPre-planning to protect assets from nursing homes and ensuring eligibility for Medicaid if needed. Crisis Medicaid planning in the event long-term care / nursing home care is imminent.
  • Asset Protection Planning – Strategies to protect assets from lawsuits, nursing homes and divorce.

Estate Planning is more than just legal documents and deciding who gets certain assets. It helps you ensure that you will have a say over what happens to your property and assets during your lifetime and after you die, giving you the security of knowing your wishes will be followed, and you and your loved ones will be provided for according to your design. It is also the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved ones will not be burdened unnecessarily after your death.

At Davis-Morris Law Firm, I will work with you beyond writing your will, establishing a trust, long term care planning, and Medicaid crisis planning. I will work with you and your family to ensure that you are comfortable through the entire estate planning process.

Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?

If you were to die today, are you comfortable everything will be taken care of the way you wanted? Estate Planning legally ensures things will be handled the way you want by providing sufficient instructions.

Estate Planning really is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have $40,000 or $400,000. You still have to plan for the future.

Aside from directing who receives your assets, an estate plan serves many purposes that can protect your future and save your family further heartache after you pass away. An estate plan allows you to plan for your health care needs and wishes, arrange guardianships for minor children, and designate who you want to handle your affairs in the event you are not able. It can also help you avoid or reduce certain estate taxes. It can even help you protect your life-savings against long term care costs in the future, even if you did not pre-plan.

In Mississippi, every estate must go through the legal probate process before beneficiaries can collect any assets. However, having a well-thought out estate plan in place can help your family avoid or streamline the probate process. If you die without a Will, a probate judge will make decisions on your behalf about your assets. Because the judge must follow state law, your assets may not go to who you would have chosen. Having a proper estate plan can ensure that what you have gets to the people you love, the way you want, when you want.

Who Needs An Estate Plan?

Every single adult needs an estate plan. Yes, you. While your plan might not resemble another person’s plan, or be as complicated as someone else’s, you still need a plan. It is never about how much you have or own and even a simple plan is better than no personal plan. If you fail to put your own plan in place, the state of Mississippi has a plan for you. The state will substitute their laws for your interests and intentions, even if their plan is not what you would have chosen.

Your estate plan is always about getting the things you own to the people you love in the way and manner you design. From the moment you turn 18, you need to consider an estate plan. As you get a job, start a family and move through life’s significant milestones, your plan should be updated and personalized to suit your needs.

You can use Estate Planning to prepare for any future illness or death. Even individuals without large estates or families need an estate plan to protect them and their loved ones. Be certain that what you have, gets to the people you love, when you want, the way you want.

How Can Davis-Morris Law Firm Help Me?

As I experienced myself, resolving an estate without a proper plan in place can be immensely overwhelming, even for me, as an experienced attorney. Leaving things unsettled when you die can cause much heartache and frustration for the loved ones you leave behind. And, while the internet boasts quick do-it-yourself estate planning programs and will drafting options, you should always consult with an experienced lawyer for help. You need to be sure your plan is legally binding and complete.

When you work with me and my team at Davis-Morris Law Firm, I will walk you and your family through every step of the process. I will work with you directly, offer the necessary education and information while getting to know your needs and concerns before explaining your options. From writing your Will and setting up a trust to providing detailed instructions to your family, you can rely on me to stay by your side every step of the way.

Let’s Get Started On Your Estate Plan Today

The sooner you start on your estate plan, the more secure your future will be. To schedule a consultation, call me at 601-602-8874 or complete my online contact form to get in touch. From my office in Hattiesburg, I can assist clients throughout South-Central Mississippi.