Freelance workers, or freelancers, are independent contractors that often work for multiple companies simultaneously. They are considered self-employed or independent contractors by most companies that employ them for their expertise in a particular area. While freelance workers may have the ability to choose the projects they work on, they are usually hired on a contractual basis and are not considered long-time employees. Many freelancers work on a project basis and face a different set of challenges than traditional employees, which is why they need to establish an estate plan.
Why Freelance Workers Need Estate Planning
Freelance workers often own their businesses or, at the very least, are considered independent contractors by those who hire them. They may own a portfolio of intellectual property that can be passed on to their heirs or online business assets that they have not considered needing protection. They may own LLCs or other business entities that need clear instructions on what happens when they die. A comprehensive estate plan can give freelance workers peace of mind knowing that their work-related activities won’t simply get lost in the shuffle when they pass away. Another issue that estate planning can alleviate for freelance workers is the fact that working for multiple companies over the years can make it hard to track digital assets. An estate plan will provide a list of assets, both digital and physical, to those you leave behind. Freelancers can also designate trusted individuals to handle their financial matters if they become incapacitated or die through several helpful legal documents.
Legal Documents That Benefit Freelancer Workers
Freelancers may discover that they need to transition their business or clients to a reliable individual who can help them manage or take complete control of their business while they are unable to work. Verbal agreements are not recommended in the state of Louisiana, and freelancers must execute the correct legal documents to ensure their wishes are honored and protected. A durable power of attorney is one of the best ways to give authority to someone else to handle your business matters should you one day find yourself unable to work on your own. A power of attorney can designate the same person for financial and healthcare matters, or the responsibilities can be divided between multiple people. A trust is another important document freelancers have in their estate planning arsenal and can provide clear instructions on how to handle their estate once they pass on. A trust can protect a freelancer’s business and keep it running for the benefit of their loved ones after they are gone and can be proven in court if necessary. A will is another tool that can be used to express a freelance worker’s last wishes. Louisiana wills have to follow a rigid set of rules to be held valid in court, so it is important to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to guarantee it is done correctly.
Freelance Workers Must Review Estate Plans Regularly
Freelance workers must review and adapt their estate plans regularly. Jobs and circumstances often change, and it is important to review your estate plan regularly. It’s usually recommended that you review your legal documents every few years, but freelance workers may need to review their estate plans more often due to their ever-changing work life.
How to Involve Family in Estate Planning
Freelance workers should consider involving their families and chosen power of attorney in the estate planning process. Involving them in the process will ensure that everyone is on the same level when it comes to working together and knowing what needs to be done. Discussing with them the how and why behind your choices will help them understand your wishes and be more open to helping you accomplish your goals. Communication also helps improve clarity and can stop disagreements and potential conflicts between family members before they happen.
Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney
Freelance workers face various challenges when it comes to estate planning. From transitioning an online business to establishing directives or locating digital assets when they die, estate planning can alleviate many of these issues. Proper execution of legal documents is one of the most important steps you can take. One small mistake and estate planning documents can be invalidated in court, and your wishes will not be followed. An attorney can listen to your needs and develop a personalized estate plan that will protect your interests and help your legacy continue.
Progeny Law Firm assists freelance workers with estate planning in Baton Rouge, LA. Call (225) 465-1090 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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