Estate Planning

Estate Planning Basics

  • Why Should you Have an Estate Plan?
  • It allows you to decide how your assets divided after your death.
  • It allows you to determine what happens if you are incapacitated.
  • It allows you to maximize tax advantages and savings.
  • It allows your family and friends to avoid probate court.

What Documents Should You Have in Your Estate Plan?

Last Will & Testament

Your will is a legal document that communicates your final wishes pertaining to possessions, dependents, and other important details.

Living Trust

Your trust is the most effective way to handle your estate. Your trust provides clear instructions on how you want your assets disbursed after your death while giving you the control on how, when and to whom those assets are disbursed.

Financial Power Of Attorney

Your power of attorney grants someone else the legal authority to manage your financial affairs in the event you are incapacitated and you can not manage your finances yourself.

Health Care Power of Attorney

Your health care power of attorney, or Advance Health Care Directive, grants someone else the legal authority to make medical decisions for you in the event you are incapaciatated and you can not make these decisions for yourself.

HIPAA Release Form

You may want a separate form giving your health care agent and other family members access to your medical records in the event that you are incapacitated.

Disposition of Your Remains

If you have a desire to be buried or cremated and if you want your remains interred in a specific cemetery, you will want to leave specific instructions for your personal representative.

Beneficiary Designations

You may have assets that will pass "outside" of your estate, meaning they will pass directly to a named beneficiary. These assets include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc.

Documents for Minors

If you have kids under the age of 18 years, you will want documents drafted for your kids, such as a power of attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive, or guardianship documents, etc.

Transfer Documents

To realize all of the benefits a trust can offer, you must "fund" your trust. This means that you have to transfer your assets into the name of your trust before you die or become incapacitated.

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