Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is planning for your estate while you are alive and well, if you become incapacitated, and after your death. It involves the management of your assets while you are still alive and the distribution of those assets after you die. This planning allows for the orderly administration and disbursement of your estate, and includes taking actions that will minimize taxes and distribute assets to the appropriate heirs.

Your estate consist of all your property, which includes your house and other real estate; tangible personal property; and intangible property, like insurance, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, pensions, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions about Estate Planning

Can I write my own will and power of attorney?

Sure, you can. But should you? Almost certainly not.

While you may feel like you are saving money and time utilizing an online service to create estate planning documents or just doing it yourself, it may well cost you – or more likely your family – more money and time when those documents don’t quite do what you had intended for them to do.

Taking time to visit with an attorney about your assets and what your goals are for both protection and, ultimately, distribution of those assets can give you peace of mind and ensure that things will indeed work out the way you wanted them to work out.

An estate plan does not need to be cost prohibitive or complicated to be effective.

What is the purpose of a will?

A will is a legal document that expresses how you wish for your property to be distributed upon your death. It can also include provisions for the care and custody of minor children.

What is a financial power of attorney?

A financial power of attorney allows your designated agent to “stand in your shoes” and make financial decisions as if they were you and in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

A financial power of attorney, like all types of power of attorney documents, is only effective during your life. Once you are deceased, a power of attorney no longer has any force or effect.

What is a health care directive?

A health care directive, also sometimes referred to as a “living will”, allows your designated health care agent to “stand in your shoes” and make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes on your own behalf.

Like any other power of attorney, a health care directive is only effective during your life.

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