What is Estate Planning?
At its most basic, an estate plan is a series of documents designed to make sure that people you choose have the authority under the law to make decisions for you when you cannot, and upon your passing, distribute your property to the people you choose.
Without an estate plan, every adult runs the risk that their heirs or loved ones will need to get a court order to make even the most mundane decisions in the event of your incapacity or death. Imagine the expense and time spent seeking the court’s permission to do something as simple as pay your electric bill, or seek the court’s guidance for something as important as the termination
of life support.
In an estate plan, not only do you provide instructions on how you want your affairs handled, but also who you want to make those decisions. In short: your property, your wishes, and all handled by people you trust.
Most estate plans will include four key components: A Revocable ( often called a “living”) trust, a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney (for financial affairs), and an Advance Health Care Directive. Each piece protects a different part of your estate, and together form the basis of a comprehensive estate plan.
And, at your passing, you can direct who receives your property and how. Whether it be to charity, to children, grandchildren, to a child with special needs, or to a foundation you establish, we can help you make sure, above all else, your hard-earned wealth goes where you want it to. Now often we hear a common thread from potential client: I don’t think I need this because I don’t have much”.
Unfortunately, the probate court does not agree. A gross estate of only $150,000 in assets requires a complete probate. Even when assets do not reach that amount, your family may not be able to access those funds for your care in the event you become incapacitated.
The best part is, although the protection is forever, the plan is not. Of course life is not fixed and what may work for your situation today may not be the same next year or next decade. But like the value of your estate, your plan can also grow with you.
Let our experienced team of attorneys advise you on the nuisances of your situation and put together a plan to fit your life and needs.