Trust And Estate Planning
Every adult needs estate planning! The only question is what type of plan is right for you. The goal is to protect whatever stuff you have for you during your lifetime and for those you love when you are no longer alive.
There are 5 documents that every responsible adult needs. We all know that life happens and unfolds in unpredictable ways and sometimes events can place us in unfortunate circumstances.
In a nutshell, these documents speak for you when you can’t. These important legal papers let your family and friends know your decisions about critical issues such as: what you want done with your property, how you would like your children to be raised, end of life decisions, and much more.
Living Will – A living will is a simple statement of what you would like done during the final days and hours of your life. If you would like to be allowed to die without heroic medical efforts being made to keep you alive then a living will is an important part of your medical chart.
A living will is limited. It only controls your medical care when you have an incurable illness or injury that will lead to your death over the next few hours or days. If you are seriously injured but are not likely to die from your injuries then your doctor and your family will look to your power of attorney for healthcare for guidance.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare – A healthcare power of attorney is more powerful than a living will. The living will is a piece of paper containing a brief statement of your end-of-life wishes. A Power of Attorney allows you to choose a person who will stand in your place, to talk with your doctors, and decide what care you should receive. The person named to make decisions is called an “agent.” Getting copies of medical records has become particularly difficult in the last few years. The Power of Attorney for Health Care also allows your agent to access your records.
Financial Power of Attorney – This document allows you to appoint someone as your agent. Your agent can go to the bank for you and can make financial decisions on your behalf. Your agent will also be able to talk with utility companies (phone, light, gas) and conduct other business for you.
List of Assets – To make things easier on your family it is important to have a written record of what assets you have and where they can be found. It does not do any good to have a millions dollars in the bank if your family does not know you have it or which bank it is in.
Will - A will is instructions to the probate court. It tells the judge who should receive your property, who should raise your young children, and who should act as your representative in court. A will must be filed in the court after a person dies. The court would then have control over how assets are handled. Wills are public and anyone can access them once submitted to the court.
Trust – Your trust controls your property when you are incapacitated and after you are gone. It can help insure that your children or grandchildren stay in school, help them open a business, and help carry out any other special plans you have. It is designed to do all of this without the need to go to court. This will likely save time and money for you and your loved ones and avoid Probate.
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