Why do I need an Estate Plan?
The task most often associated with Estate Planning is the distribution of your assets upon death. However, while that is important, it is not the only purpose. Our estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that covers your wishes for yourself and your family.
Estate Planning includes legal solutions and tools regarding:
- tax planning,
- probate considerations,
- end of life decisions,
- incapacity planning,
- proper beneficiary designations,
- specific planning for minor children and family members living with a disability,
- and more.
Our Will and Estate Planning services provide you with the legal documents necessary to enforce your wishes in the event of incapacity or death. These documents may include, but are not limited to:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Release
- Living Will (medical directives)
- Declaration of Guardian
- Living Trust
- Retirement Plan Trust
- Special Needs Trust or Supplemental Needs Trust
With the proper documents, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes – not the State’s – and ensure that the individuals you choose and trust will be your voice when the need arises. Because these are such important issues, putting off planning can have tragic, unintended consequences. Please contact our law office today to schedule a consultation.
Incorporating your Values in your Family Estate Planning
Estate Planning is not just about determining who gets what property. Both documents are applicable during your lifetime and those applying after your death are expressions of important values. For example, who you choose to make medical decisions for you should reflect your moral, ethical, and spiritual values, so that when that person has to make decisions according to your wishes, he or she has a strong understanding of who you are.
Simply contact an estate planning attorney to complete your estate planning, whether simple or complex, sets a good example to your children and helps reduce the stresses and costs your surviving spouse and children will face at your death.
However, your family estate plan gives you an opportunity to look at the values you wish to pass on to your children, an especially important consideration if they should be orphaned while young. If you or your spouse have prominent values you wish to transmit to your children, you can put certain specifications into their trust or trusts, such as instructing the trustee to provide your kids with a certain form of education. Similarly, if one or both of you had a formative experience on a journey, authorizing the trustee to provide for that experience you would have heartily given to your kids in a way to transmit those values.
There are several ways to expand upon this approach:
- One can be taken in the form of an ethical will to your children that usually takes the form of a letter written to them with wisdom, perspective and encouragement in their lives, and an honest appraisal of what you would encourage them to do differently.
- A supplemental tool can be a memo of intent in which you specifically inform your trustee about important family considerations, greater detail about experiences you wish to encourage, and the like.