Establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Proper estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, it can also spare your loved ones of the expense, delay and frustration associated with managing your affairs when you pass away or become disabled. Our firm will help guide you through the process and the various issues that may arise, including:
Providing for Incapacity
If you become incapacitated, you won’t be able to manage your own financial affairs. If you want your family to be able to immediately take over for you, you must designate a person or persons that you trust in proper legal documents so that they will have the authority to withdraw money from your accounts, pay bills, take distributions from your IRAs, sell stocks, and refinance your home.
In addition to planning for the financial aspect of your affairs during incapacity, you should establish a plan for your medical care. The law allows you to appoint someone you trust, a family member or close friend, to make decisions on your behalf about medical treatment options if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. You can do this by using a durable power of attorney for health care where you designate the person to make such decisions.
Providing for Minor Children
If your children are young, you may want to consider implementing a plan that will provide for your children. You should also discuss with your attorney the possibility of both you and your spouse dying simultaneously, or within a short duration of time. A contingency plan should provide for persons to manage your assets as well as the guardian you choose to nominate for the upbringing of your children.
Planning for Death Taxes
There are many well-established strategies that can be implemented to reduce or eliminate federal and state inheritance and estate taxes, but you must start the planning process early in order to implement many of these plans.
A well-crafted estate plan should provide for your loved ones in an effective and efficient manner.