What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is a way to protect yourself, your family and your assets. It involves planning for the present and future of you and your family. Estate planning takes many issues into consideration: taxes, health care, family dynamics, and more. There are a few different documents which make a well-rounded estate plan:

Will - A will is a document effective only upon death. At death, a will goes through probate (a court supervised process by which your estate is distributed and taxes are paid). A will names beneficiaries (those who will receive your assets), executors (those who will take care your will is probated), and guardians (those who will take care of your minor children).

Trust - A trust is effective immediately upon execution. The trust gives details of what you would like to have happen with your assets upon your death (or sometimes during your life). A trust names beneficiaries (those who will receive your assets) and trustees (those who will make sure your trust provisions are followed). Your assets must be transferred into the trust for your trust to have effect over them.

Health Care Directive - A health care directive states your medical wishes (for example, whether you want life support or not in certain circumstances). It also names a person to make those decisions for you in case you cannot make them yourself.

Power of Attorney - A power of attorney gives someone the ability to become "you" in certain financial circumstances. This is a very important document during incapacity.

If you have any questions about the above-mentioned documents or what documents may be necessary to protect you and your family, please give me a call today.