Estate Planning Basics



Irrespective of the size of your estate, an estate plan can help to take care of both you and your family. Below are some of the common estate planning documents:

Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will. A Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will document allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated as well as to articulate health care decisions if certain conditions surmount.


General Durable Power of Attorney. A general durable power of attorney allows you to appoint an agent to effectuate financial decisions.


Last Will and Testament. A Last Will and Testament names your executor and provides what will happen to your property at your death. Executor refers to the person that will manage your estate upon your death.


Guardianship. A Last Will and Testament may be utilized to engage in planning for your minor kids. You may name the person you wish to serve as guardian for your child or children under your Will. If you fail to name a guardian, a court may appoint someone. Additionally, minor children cannot hold title to property in their own names. A Will enables you to create a testamentary trust and appoint a trustee to manage assets for the benefit of your children.


Revocable Trust. A Revocable Trust can be used to plan for incapacity as well as to avoid probate expenses. During your lifetime, you are the owner of any assets in your revocable trust. You can also manage these assets as a trustee during your lifetime. After your death, you can name a successor trustee to manage your assets. Assets already in a revocable trust are generally not subject to probate, which may be a cost and administrative savings for your estate.


It is important to review your estate plan periodically especially if you have had a major change in your family structure, such as a birth, death, divorce, or health issues.

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