Whether your financial holdings are very simple or quite complex, everyone needs to have a well-drafted estate plan that is tailored to their personal needs. We tell our clients, “If you don’t have a will, the state has one for you, and you might not like what it says.”
Having a solid estate plan in place now allows both you and your other family members to avoid unnecessary stress that might arise from trying to quickly put something in place in the event of rapidly failing health or a catastrophic injury.
We can assist you with drafting wills, powers of attorney, directives to physicans, revocable living trusts, charitable trusts, and other more complex estate planning instruments as necessary to accomplish your goals and to protect your loved ones.
We tailor each of our estate plans specifically to address your individual needs and goals. While no two files are exactly the same, our basic estate plan, which is appropriate for many people, includes some or all of the following documents:
A Last Will and Testament
A good estate plan starts with a Last Will and Testament. This document not only dictates where your property and other assets go upon your death, it also allows you to set forth who you would like to be in charge of settling your affairs after you are gone.
If you have minor children, it is especially important to have a will, as it can set forth who you would like to be named guardian of your children in the event both you and the other parent die. It can prevent hassles that occur when minor children inherit property by leaving your assets instead to the children through a testamentary trust. In cases where there is an ex-spouse’s family involved, it can also save thousands of dollars in legal fees by putting your preferred person in charge of the assets, instead of a a guardian through a law suit.
General Power of Attorney with Designation of Guardian
A General Power of Attorney allows you to designate another person to act on your behalf in dealing with your personal affairs while you are still alive. We recommend that everyone have a general power of attorney, as it can save significantly in future legal fees if you become legally incapacitated due to illness, injury or advancing age. These instruments can become effective immediately upon execution, or may only come into force if you are incapacitated. It’s up to you!
Medical Power of Attorney
A Medical Power of Attorney allows you to designate who will make medical decisions for you, but only if you are unable to make them for yourself, whether to do injury, illness, or mental incapacity. Placing someone in charge that you trust can head off unpleasant tensions between loved ones later.
Directive to Physicians (Living Will)
A Directive to Physicans, also sometimes known as a “Living Will” or an “Advanced Directive” is your last chance to express your wishes as to what you would like to happen when death is near, and there is no reasonable hope for recovery. This document sets out your wishes, and gives guidance to your physicians, and to your family. We have found that it can provide a great deal of comfort to family members who are forced to make life-and-death decisions for you when the time comes.