Estate Planning is the process of planning for the future of your loved ones. A basic estate planning package includes a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, and a Living Will. It is important to have an estate planning lawyer prepare these documents for you. The goal is to have a personalized plan that will work for your family and will give you peace of mind.
Before you meet with your estate planning lawyer, you will need to compile a list of your assets and liabilities. This includes bank accounts, investments, your home, retirement accounts, and life insurance. Your estate planning lawyer will need to know the names of your closest family members and whether there is a need to protect beneficiaries from the effects of disabilities or unhealthy dependencies.
Your estate planning attorney will help you determine how you want your property distributed to your family.
A young couple with young children may need estate planning not only to provide for the disposition of their property but more importantly, to name a guardian to care for their young children if something happens to both parents. Parents can create a trust under the Will to hold assets for a child and see that those assets are spent for the child’s care until he or she reaches adulthood. Putting a trust in place for this purpose makes it unnecessary for a Court to supervise the handling of the child’s assets.
An older couple or individual may need to plan for possible disability. This can be done by means of powers of attorney for health care and financial matters, or a conservatorship, and a Last Will and Testament that may include a testamentary trust.