Many people have the misconception that estate planning is only necessary for those who are wealthy or have many assets. The truth is that EVERYONE needs estate planning. Statistically, when they pass away, most people will have a checking account, savings account, home, automobile, items of personal property, including a beloved pet, which are all considered a part of our “Estate”. To ensure your “Estate” is administered exactly as you wish upon your death, you must have properly executed estate planning documents.
Estate planning encompasses much more than just where your assets will go upon your death. In fact, some of the most important estate planning documents have nothing to do with death at all. A properly executed Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate, and Designation of Pre-Need Guardian can be crucial to management of your personal and financial affairs during your lifetime. We will help guide you through this process to determine what estate planning documents are necessary to best suit your individual needs and desires.
Do I need a Will or Trust?
The two main approaches to estate planning are either:
A Last Will and Testament, or
A Revocable Living Trust
What’s the difference? In simple terms, a will must go through probate, while a trust avoids probate. During your first consultation, we will discuss the pros and cons of each, and determine which best fits your goals.
Your Last Will & Testament
Your Last Will and Testament is the foundation for the planning of your estate. It is the best, most secure way to ensure that your assets are distributed as you wish. Even though you can go online and create your last will and testament yourself for a lower cost, it is important to use a qualified estate planning attorney because estate planning is nuanced and complicated—even a lawyer untrained in estate planning can make mistakes that lead to unfortunate consequences.
To make sure your family is taken care of as you wish, enlisting the services of a trained estate planning attorney is essential.
In your initial consultation, we will discuss your goals and how best to accomplish them. We will look at the various options available to you and how each will impact the distribution of your estate. Together we will ensure that your wishes will be carried out.
There are many different types of trusts, but one of the most known is a Revocable Living Trust, which may not appropriate for everyone. A living trust can help your heirs avoid the time and expense of probate while protecting you. Additionally, you may retain control of the trust and may change or terminate the trust at any time. If one of your main concerns is avoiding probate, a revocable living trust may be the right option for you.