Life takes unexpected turns. Although most of us don’t like to think about incapacity or end of life, everyone can benefit from knowing what will happen to their families, their loved ones, and their assets when the unexpected happens.
If you become incapacitated and unable to manage your financial affairs, who would you trust to manage them for you? If you lose the ability to direct your own medical care, whose judgment would you rely on to direct it for you? When the unexpected happens, it is often difficult or impossible to communicate your wishes. This is why it is essential to have the proper planning in place before you need it.
Although not everyone faces incapacity, all of us will face the end of life. What kind of care and treatment do you want to receive at the end of your life? Who do you feel should oversee the distribution of the assets you leave behind? Who should care for your minor or disabled children or relatives?
A comprehensive estate plan addresses both incapacity and end of life issues, and provides a roadmap for carrying out your wishes. Planning ahead provides you with peace of mind by ensuring that your family, your loved ones, and your assets are secure in the face of life’s uncertainties.
The estate plan we create with you is an action plan for your life and your death. We spend time learning about your life situation, your family and loved ones, and your goals. We examine your financial and tax situation, life plan, health concerns, and government benefits that may be available. When establishing an estate plan, you can trust us to give you and your family personal attention. We will then prepare the documents necessary to protect you and your loved ones, both today and in the future. These may include:
We will work with you to prepare a Will that details your desires regarding the division of your assets and the administration of your estate. In your Will, you can nominate a trusted individual to serve as your Personal Representative and manage the process. This prevents conflict and costly negotiations down the road, and ensures that your wishes are known and acted upon. We consider all relevant circumstances when drafting your Will, including tax considerations and complicated beneficiary situations.
We will discuss with you whether a Revocable Living Trust (“RLT”) is appropriate for your life situation. A RLT is similar to a Will in that it allows you to lay out your wishes regarding the division of your assets and the administration of your estate. However, unlike a Will—which must go through a court-supervised probate process after you die—a RLT empowers your Trustee to carry out your wishes without court involvement. In addition, a RLT provides for management of your assets should you become disabled during your life.
We will help you legally designate an Agent in a Power of Attorney, allowing the named individual to manage your financial affairs. A Power of Attorney allows your chosen Agent to act on your behalf for a wide variety of financial matters if you are unable to do so. A carefully drafted Power of Attorney will give you peace of mind, ensuring you know that critical decisions regarding your financial well-being are always in good hands.
We also include an Advance Directive in your estate plan. The purpose of an Advance Directive is twofold: first, it appoints a Health Care Representative to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make or communicate those decisions yourself; and second, it lays out your wishes regarding end-of-life care, such as whether you want to receive life support and tube feeding. An Advance Directive ensures that your loved ones are able to advocate for you in the medical context while relieving them of the weighty burden of life support decisions.
With just a little planning, you can get on the road to protecting your family, your loved ones, and your assets. Whether your goal is ensuring the well-being of your minor children, minimizing estate taxes, avoiding probate, or just creating an orderly process for managing incapacity and end of life issues, you can relax with peace of mind once you have a tailor-made estate plan. If you want to know more about estate planning, call us today: