Estate Planning Services
Truly? It's never too early. The purpose of an estate plan is to protect one's assets, family, and loved ones in the event that they are not able to do so themselves. Estate planning is one of the most tangible ways that you can care for your loved ones while preparing for the future. Any of the following life events trigger the need to have an estate plan in place:
-The birth of a child
-The ownership of tangible assets, such as a home, a business, and more
-The development of any health conditions
If you don't have an estate plan in place, your assets will go through the state’s automatic procedure called “probate”, which is the state’s way of determining the where/whys/what’s and hows of how your estate will be distributed. This means that your heirs (even if everything is amicable), will have to hire attorneys to represent themselves, and the process will take time. It is absolutely heartbreaking to walk a grieving family through the process of probate to sort out what their family member wished to have happen with their estate….except, said family member decided to go the cheap route, or put off estate planning until "later". Cheap actions = cheap results. Something as important as your estate, and protecting your family when you’re not here to do so yourself, warrants critical consideration. Critical consideration occurs when you sit down with an advocate, walking through the simple steps necessary to get your affairs in order.
So what do you need have to have a satisfactory estate plan? While every plan should be specifically tailored to each family, generally speaking, look for the following:
1. Consider forming a trust. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a trust is “an arrangement whereby a person (a trustee) holds property as its nominal owner for the good of one or more beneficiaries.” Think of it this way: it’s comparable to creating a “corporation” that holds your assets for you. In literal terms, its a document that will explain exactly what you want to happen with your assets when you pass. Everything will be predetermined, so that your heirs are not left with disputes during such an emotional time.
2. Consider a “pour over will”. This is a document that essentially states that anything you might have accidentally left out of the trust should be distributed according to the terms of the trust.
3. An Advance Directive, defined as a “written statement of a person's wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, made to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor”
4. A Power Of Attorney: When someone needs the ability to make decisions for you (or a loved one).
Finally, if you are a small business owner, you also must consider how your business plays into your estate plan, and into your estate planning. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.