Estate Planning is the creation of a plan to manage your estate during your lifetime and the distribution after your death. Good estate planning should accomplish your goals for yourself and your family. There are various ways to plan.
We can help prepare your Estate Plan. A typical Estate Plan consists of a Will and/or Trust, a Financial Power of Attorney and a Heath Care Power of Attorney. Preparing an Estate Plan lets you decide who will make your financial and medical decisions. Estate Planning attempts to eliminate uncertainties.
There are various way to plan:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Financial documents
- Power of Attorney for Health Care documents
A Will is used to let everyone know exactly to whom you want your assets distributed when you die. It’s also the place to name guardians for your children. Dying without a Will, is known as dying “intestate”, which can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who will receive your assets.
A Trust is a legal mechanism that lets you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay and publicity of probate. Even if you have a Trust, you still need a Will to take care of any assets held outside of the trust.
A Financial Power of Attorney is a document that appoints an agent to make financial decisions for you, when you are unable to do so. If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place, a Guardianship process may need to be started with the court, to determine who will be appointed to make financial decisions on your behalf, if you are not able to do so.
A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that appoints an agent to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so. If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place, a Guardianship process may need to be started with the court, to determine who will be appointed to make medical and placement decisions on your behalf, if you are not able to do so.
At each stage of life: reaching adulthood, marriage, birth of a child, divorce, disease or death, it is wise to look at your Estate Plan. If you became incapacitated, who would make your medical and financial decisions? Despite what many people think, it is not automatically your spouse. When you die, will your assets go where you think they will and how much money (taxes and attorney fees) will it cost to get them there? I offer flat fees for many Estate Planning packages and can make the process as “painless as possible.”