There are many different strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents.
Estate planning is a process. It involves people — your family, other individuals and, in many cases, charitable organizations of your choice. It also involves your assets (your property) and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. And it addresses your future needs in case you ever become unable to care for yourself. Through estate planning, you can determine:
- How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your life if you ever become unable to manage them yourself.
- When and under what circumstances it makes sense to distribute your assets during your lifetime.
- How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death.
- How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.
- Do you want to avoid probate?
Many people mistakenly think that estate planning only involves the writing of a will. Estate planning, however, can also involve financial, tax, medical and business planning. A will or a trust is part of the planning process, but you will need other documents as well to fully address your estate planning needs.
You will discover that estate planning is a dynamic process. As people, assets and laws change, it may be necessary to adjust your estate plan to reflect those changes.
There are many issues to consider in creating an estate plan. First, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my assets and what is their approximate value?
- Whom do I want to receive those assets — and when?
- Who should manage those assets if I cannot — either during my lifetime or after my death?
- Who should be responsible for taking care of my minor children if I become unable to care for them myself?
- Who should make decisions on my behalf concerning my care and welfare if I become unable to care for myself?
- What do I want done with my remains after I die and where would I want them buried, scattered or otherwise laid to rest?
We can help you create an estate plan, and advise you on such issues as taxes, title to assets and the management of your estate. Contact an Estate Planning Attorney today to make sure a plan is place for your future.