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Download my Estate Planning Questionnaire: Estate Planning Questionnaire
Everyone, young or old, rich or poor, has an Estate Plan, whether they have ever been to see a lawyer or not. That is because if you don't create your own, the State in which you live has one for you. You may not like it, and it probably won't provide for what you would provide, but it is there nevertheless and will control the disposition of your property after your death.
Everyone, young or old, rich or poor, needs to have an Estate Plan prepared by a qualified attorney to avoid having the State in which you live direct what will happen to one's property after one's death.
An Estate Plan directs what happens to your property after you are no longer here to use it and enjoy it. When we prepare an Estate Plan for you, we also plan for what will happen when you are still alive but unable to manage your own affairs, either temporarily or permanently. This is a terribly important aspect of Estate Planning and should not be overlooked.
There is more to Estate Planning than tax planning. Even those who do not have (or do not know they have) any tax driven issues need to have an Estate Plan to arrange for proper distribution of assets, payment of liabilities and guardians for minor or disabled children.
Making an Estate Plan can:
- save you very significant amounts of money in legal and court fees, both while you are alive and after your death. In most cases, the savings will dwarf the cost of making an Estate Plan.
- give you peace of mind
- ensure that your wishes are carried out
The main documents in an Estate Plan are:
- A Living or Revocable Trust; sometimes called a "Loving Trust";
- A Last Will and Testament;
- A Durable Power of Attorney;
- A Living Will, sometimes called an Advance Directive for Health Care; and
- A Designation of Health Care Surrogate sometimes called a Health Care Proxy or a Health Care Power of Attorney.
What are the other common Estate Planning Documents?
You may want or need additional documents, such as one or more Inter Vivos Trusts, (e.g. a Life Insurance Trust, a Receptacle Trust, a Qualified Personal Residence Trust and a Special Needs Trust), a Family Limited Partnership Agreement, an Enhanced Life Estate ("Ladybird") Deed, and/or a Buy-Sell Agreement. You may also want one or more Testamentary Trusts, which are trusts that are contained within your Last Will and Testament or your Living Trust.
If you would like more information, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.