Basic estate planning involves a few different documents, a Last Will & Testament, a Financial Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney, and an Advance Care Plan. These each serve a different purpose and allow for easier management of your estate both while living and after death.
A Last Will & Testament (“Will”) is simply a document which allows you to state how you want your assets distributed after your death. Within the Will, you will state how you want your real property (land) and personal property disbursed and who you want to administer your estate. If you have minor children, you will also nominate a guardian and have the option to create a trust to hold assets until any minor beneficiaries reach the age of majority. These trusts can be extended to ages beyond 18 years old.
In a Powers of Attorney (“POA”), you give someone authority to take actions on your behalf. You can have a POA for your finances and your health care. A Financial POA allows you to designate another person to manage your estate, or property, during your life. A Healthcare POA allows you to give another person authority to make decisions regarding you health care, and allows access to medical records. Depending on your desires, these documents may be effective on signing, or may "spring" into action upon loss of competency.
The Advanced Care Plan allows you to state in advance how you would like end of life care decisions made. The plan informs both your agent and your doctors of your wishes and instructions.
Thoughtful estate planning and trustworthy agents ensure that your assets are distributed how you want. It also can prevent the need for a guardian or conservator in the event you are unable to manage your own affairs.
If you are ready to get your estate together, contact us and we will get started!