What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is taking steps now to make sure that your loved ones are protected in the event you become sick or at your death.
What is a Will?
A Will is a document you sign stating who will receive what you own (your “estate”) after your death and who will be in charge of getting your estate to your beneficiaries. It also can state whether you want to be cremated or buried, who would have custody of your minor children and how your assets are to be distributed to your children through a trust.
Do I need a Will?
Yes. A Will makes sure your estate goes to the people or charities you want it to go to. If you have a large estate, a properly drawn Will can save thousands of dollars in estate taxes. If you have a small estate, a Will helps your family and friends to know where your estate should go. If you die without a Will, your biological family will receive your estate and, even if it is just personal belongings, a very messy situation can result. Having a Will also can save your estate the cost of extra legal steps.
Should I have a trust in my Will?
If you have young children or want to provide for family or friends that need help managing money, then you should consider a trust.
What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
There are two types of durable powers of attorney, one for financial matters and one for healthcare decisions.
A financial durable power of attorney allows a friend or family member to take care of your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. It is very important because it will avoid the need for a guardian being appointed for you in the event you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
A healthcare durable power of attorney allows a friend or family member to make healthcare decisions for you if you are not able.
What is a Healthcare Directive (Living Will)?
A healthcare directive, or living will, is your statement to the world that if you are in a vegetative state, you want the plug pulled so you can die naturally and quickly.
Is it worth it?
Yes. Well-drawn estate planning documents can save your loved ones an enormous amount of grief if you become incapacitated or at your death. They also can save the expense of a guardianship and additional expenses to your estate after your death. In some cases, they can save thousands of dollars in estate taxes.
How would I get started?
First, you would call or email our office to set up a meeting. You should allow one to two hours for the meeting, depending on how complex your situation is. Next you would download and fill out the estate planning questionnaire that applies to your situation. You can bring the questionnaire to our first meeting.