Estate planning is the preparation of tasks that serve to manage your assets in the event of your incapacitation or death. This 'planning' includes the bequest of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes. We can assist you will all aspects of setting up your estate plan.
A good estate plan is comprised of FIVE KEY ELEMENTS:
A Will is a legally binding document that directs who will receive your property and assets after your death. It names an executor – the person who you want to carry out those directions. A will also names a guardian or guardians who will care for your minor children or other dependents, should you die or become incapacitated.
A trust is a legal arrangement through which a trustee holds legal title to property on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. The person setting up a trust can dictate how and when beneficiaries receive the assets in the trust.
The important thing to remember when deciding whether to put your assets into a trust is this: assets owned by a trust avoid probate; assets not owned by a trust are exposed
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is the person you designate to step in and manage your affairs, should you become ill or incapacitated. The person you designate, known as your agent, has the power to make financial decisions on your behalf. Designating a power of attorney is especially important if you are single, since this role would typically fall to a spouse. Without a designated power of attorney, a court will select someone to serve as your guardian.
Health Care Directive
A health care directive is similar to a power of attorney in that it designates someone you choose to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. Often, family members will disagree about what steps should be taken in your care; therefore, it’s good to have a health care directive in place to ensure your wishes are carried out.
When you create an estate plan, you should also make sure your retirement plan beneficiary designations are up to date. Beneficiary designations dictate who will receive benefits when you pass. These designations supersede what’s in your Will, making it important that you review your beneficiary designations on a regular basis (at least annually).
Rob Collison, Owner
"Incorporating these five elements into your estate plan is just the first step toward ensuring that all of your wishes will be carried out when the time comes. Life happens and things change. That is why it is especially important to establish an annual maintenance plan with us and review each document on a regular basis so we can ensure everything is always up to date."