Developing a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Estate Planning is more than planning for your death. It is critical to have the appropriate documents in place to handle unforeseen circumstances while you are still alive but are unable to handle your own financial or medical affairs. Taking the time to develop an estate plan can save your loved ones from frustration, anguish, and unnecessary legal expenses if anything happens to you. We offer an affordable and comprehensive estate planning service that includes four (4) essential documents: A Last Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney for Financial Matters, a Health Care Proxy for Medical Matters, and a Living Will. Additionally, a trust may be a suitable option for your needs and can provide benefits in estate planning, asset protection, taxes, and avoiding probate. The following is a brief description of each document that you should consider having as part of your estate plan:
Will – A Last Will and Testament, more commonly referred to as a Will, is the core of your estate plan. This legal document names one or more persons to administer your estate, can designate someone to act as guardians for your minor children, and provides your instructions for the disposition of your property upon your death. Our Wills can be a “simple” three (3) page document or a thirty (30) plus page document with multiple trusts depending on your planning goals and estate tax concerns.
Financial Power of Attorney – A Power of Attorney grants someone you trust the ability to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become unable to handle financial affairs for yourself. A Power of Attorney is only effective during your lifetime. If you become unable to handle your financial matters and you do not have a Power of Attorney, then your loved ones will be forced to petition a court to be appointed to act for you. This can be costly and time-consuming, plus the person who the court appoints may not be the person you would have chosen.
Health Care Proxy – A Health Care Proxy allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make them for yourself. Similar to a Power of Attorney, this legal document can spare your loved ones from obtaining permission from a court to help you.
Living Will – A Living Will gives advanced directions whether you would like to prolong medical treatment in the event you have an incurable or irreversible condition that will ultimately result in your death after your health providers have determined that, to a high degree of certainty, you will never regain consciousness or recover cognitive function.
Trusts – A Trust is a document created by an individual who is referred to as the Grantor or Settlor, who then transfers their property or assets to one (1) or more Trustees who could be one of the Grantors or Settlors, depending on the type of trust. There are many different kinds of trusts but broadly speaking there are trusts created during lifetime often referred to as “living trusts” and trusts created under Wills which are referred to as “testamentary trusts”. Living Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable.
“If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your pets.”