The importance of Estate Planning lies in protecting your loved ones. One of the essential pieces of Estate Planning is the transferring of assets to heirs in the most cost-effective way, with the least possible tax burden. Once your Estate Plan is in place, it will serve to manage your assets in the event of your incapacitation or death. Without a plan in place, settling your affairs after you are gone could have a time consuming and very costly impact those you leave behind, even if you think you don’t have valuable assets to pass on. Some of the advantages of an estate plan are that it you are able to choose who will inherit your assets when you die, it can greatly reduce taxes on what you leave behind, you are able to name your children’s guardian in the event of your untimely death, and it minimizes the chances of family conflict and unfortunate legal battles. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
A Trust is created during your lifetime in order to transfer title of your property from your name into the Trust. Your assets are placed into the Trust for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to selected beneficiaries upon your death. A Trust helps individuals maintain more control over their assets and have their desires fulfilled after they die. There are many types of trusts, and determining which type is right for you can only be done by an attorney. Be wary of anyone who is not an attorney that tells you what type of trust is right for you - they do not have the full training and can be punished criminally because of the damage they could cause you with the wrong advice. Most importantly, a trust saves the expense and delay of Probate, which can last years and cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
In the situation where you have a Trust, then Will is simply a “safety net”. For a Trust to fully control your assets, those assets must be formally transferred into the Trust. If those assets are not properly transferred into the Trust, then despite your best intentions, those assets will only pass on by ruling of a Probate Court judge. In case this happens to you, a Will works in conjunction with a Trust and instructs the Probate Judge to transfer your remaining assets to your Trust. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
A Financial Power of Attorney gives you the chance to appoint an individual to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so. The Power of Attorney document specifies what responsibilities your designated agent can carry out on your behalf in legal and financial situations when you are unable to do so. This may include paying your bills and taxes, as well as accessing and managing your assets. Traditionally these are good for the situations where you are physically disabled, in a coma, or in some type of accident that leaves you impaired. Now more than ever these have become extremely valuable for those individuals who end up with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. People with these diseases can live for many years and without a valid Power of Attorney, the family would have to spend thousands of dollars and several months’ worth of time to get the court to issue a Conservatorship. There are several types of Powers of Attorney, and determining which one is right for you should only be made by a qualified attorney. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
The Advance Healthcare Directive is another power of attorney, but this one is specific to designating an individual to manage your medical decisions in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself. When preparing the Advance Healthcare Directive, you are able to choose how general or specific the responsibilities that you grant your agent, and you are able to choose alternate agents to act in case the primary agent is unavailable. Additionally, you can make some foreseeable decisions like, whether or not to be on life support, if you are okay with taking pain medications, how you want your remains to be dealt with, and if you want to donate organs. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
The Nomination of Guardian allows you to indicate who would care for your children in the event that you pass away or are unable to care for your children. Without a guardian pre-appointed, you will not have a say in who will care for your child and often times the paternal and maternal families fight over who gets custody. In the meantime, for months or even years, your children will be in foster care until the court battles are decided and a judge rules on a guardian. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
Legacy planning is about giving your life a sense of purpose. It is a way for you to be remembered by few or by many. This typically includes philanthropic goals in addition to family beneficiaries. As a part of your plan, we can help you identify and implement goals for using your assets towards benefitting family and charity after you die. Additionally, you can often get tax benefits during life for contributing to charity when you die. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
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