ESTATE PLANNING is how your affairs will be managed in the event you are not around, either because of your death or incapacity. Do you honestly want to leave your loved ones to sort out your financial and medical affairs without your input? Worse yet, if you do not create your own estate plan the State will create one for you.
Below are the basic components of a comprehensive Estate Plan:
Trusts are a legal construct that allows you to create a separate legal entity to hold your assets. Trusts are used to avoid probate and plan to distribute wealth. Trusts accomplish a tremendous amount of legal, tax, personal, family, asset protection, and other goals such as:
- Protect assets from creditors malpractice claimants, and divorce actions
- Protect and provide for children, grandchildren, spouses, and other loved ones
- Minimize or avoid probate
- Provide maximum privacy
- Provide care, funding, and direction for YOU and YOUR LOVED ONES, in the event of sickness, death, and disability
Advance health care directives are written instructions that tell others how you want your health care managed when you are not able to do so yourself.
In a Living Will you state how you want your end of life medical care handled Anatomical Donations. You give instruction should you decide to donate any of your body parts upon your death.
A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to manage your assets that are in or outside of a trust if you become incapacitated. The person you appoint can have broad powers to act but should at a minimum have the following powers:
- Manage and transfer your assets
- Create or amend trusts on your behalf
- Pay taxes and deal with the IRS
- Make gifts
A last will is a written document that states who you wish to be the guardians for your minor children and how you would like your assets distributed at your death. The last will names an executor to facilitate the management of your will during the probate process. If you die without a valid will (known as dying intestate) your assets will be divided up according to State statute.