Estate planning is for everyone! No matter your amount of assets, everyone has an estate and everyone should plan for when the time comes. Homes, cars, other real estate properties, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture and personal belongings all fall under an individual’s estate. Everyone needs an estate plan! To learn more, view our new video series focusing on the importance of estate plans, or continue reading below.
To ensure that your estate is protected and your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating who you want to receive your properties and assets, what you want them to receive in addition to when they are to receive it. These instructions are provided in the form of a will or a trust, which is a document that designates that exact information. A will can also designate the guardian of your children. When an individual does not have a will or a trust, the state will make decisions about his/ her assets as well as determining who will be the guardians of minor children. This means you will have no control over how assets are spent on children, where your property will go and you won’t be able to gift assets outside of family members.
When putting together an estate plan, you have the option of utilizing a will or trust depending on which best serves you and your family’s privacy needs, size of estate, and probate or taxes. For instance, once a will has been probated a public record of all your assets exists. The benefit of a trust is that it can avoid the probate process and protect your family’s privacy by passing on your assets without a public record. In addition, a trust allows you to determine exactly how and when specific assets can be distributed to your loved ones. A part of this is a revocable trust which is an agreement between the person who creates the trust (you) and the person who manages the trust assets upon your passing, or you while you are alive.
Another aspect of estate planning is an advance health care directive and power of attorney. An advance health care directive can be described as a document that provides your doctors with instruction about what type of health decisions you would want made if you are incapacitated and unable to make them yourself. It also provides authorization to another individual to make decisions on your behalf in accordance with the instructions in the document. It generally advises your authorized individual as to whether you want to extend your life in any manner possible or how you would like to determine when they should stop medical treatment. A HIPAA release can also be added to an Advance Health Care Directive or it can be done independently. Furthermore, a power of attorney document provides an authorized individual with power to manage your financial affairs if you are incapacitated and cannot do it yourself.
Did you know that it is never too early to start planning? No matter your age, an estate plan is important to have due to unforeseen circumstances and tragedies. We understand that it is often a difficult matter to discuss, especially with those you love. However, we urge you to talk about estate plans with your spouse, parents and children to ensure that their future is taken care of and the estate is accounted for. Our experienced attorneys can assist with this emotional and overwhelming conversation, as they promise compassion and sensitivity. A.L. Harvey Law can provide professional legal experience with estate planning, making sure all legal, financial and medical documents are prepared and in place for when they’re needed. Estate planning will provide comfort that your wishes, such as medical and financial decisions, are to be carried out as you desire. Again, it is important to discuss an estate plan before it is too late.
To learn more about the steps in this process, watch more from our new video series Attorney Allison Harvey has produced focusing on the importance of wills and estate plans.
If you would like more information on estate planning and legal advice for preparing your will, please contact our office today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 217-3520.
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