A well-planned estate can and generally does consist of a number of estate planning instruments that work together to provide the best plan. Each plan needs to be tailored to the individual based on the nature of his/her estate. Some of the instruments that may be needed are enumerated below.
Why you need a will
A will is a device that lets you tell your heirs whom you want to get your assets. A person who dies with a will is said to have died testate. A person who dies without a will dies intestate. It is always preferable to have a will. A will states your desires as to the distribution of your estate. A will can be changed as your circumstances or your preferences change. Even if you take measures to avoid probate, it is a good idea to have a will as a back-up.
Even if you do not think you need a will, you should still see an estate planner to draw up powers of attorney for health care and financial matters. If you become incapacitated by illness or accident, a power of attorney will be critical to allow a friend or loved one to pay your bills, make health care decisions for you, and deal with financial institutions and healthcare providers on your behalf. These simple documents not only save money later, but they give you the security of knowing things will be taken care of in your absence.
Should you consider a Living Will
A Living Will is a document that tells your healthcare provider under what conditions you wish not to be revived. It is an essential part of your estate plan. A Living Will directs your health care provider to comply with your wishes and removes difficult emotional decisions from your loved ones.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document that you execute authorizing someone that you have chosen to handle your affairs in the event you become incapable of doing so. A durable power of attorney can be prepared for both health care decisions and business decisions. Like the Living Will, this is an essential part of your estate plan.
A trust is not for everyone. But for some, a trust can be a very helpful instrument. A trust can 1) Protect property for your beneficiaries 2) Reduce or eliminate estate taxes, 3) Manage property if you become incapacitated, and 4) Avoid probate.
Call us today for an appointment and we will walk you through the steps of deciding which estate planning tools fit your needs.