ESTATE PLANNING: Wills/Trusts, Probate, Asset Protection

ESTATE PLANNING: Wills/Trusts, Probate, Asset Protection

Everyone should have some kind of estate plan, whether it be a trust or a just a simple will.  If someone dies without either of these, the process of settling the persons estate can be lengthy and expensive, as well as potentially leaving things to people who were never intended to get them.  Trusts give the greatest amount of flexibility and protection of both assets and family members, as well as avoiding a long and expensive probate.  A will is a basic document, but if a person only has a will, there’s no opportunity for asset protection, and it will have to go through probate.  Powers of attorney are needed in the event of incapacity or inability to manage your own affairs.  A financial power of attorney gives someone the ability to keep your bills paid, a health care power of attorney lets someone work with your doctor in order to make medical treatment decisions, and a living will gives instructions to your doctors about whether or not you want to be kept alive by artificial means.  I will carefully guide you through all of these options and help you make the best decision about what type of estate plan is best for you.

PROBATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION

Probate is a process by which a court approves the transfer of a person’s assets after death. This can be complicated, time consuming and expensive. Probate should be avoided to the extent possible. A Trust must be administered after death, making sure that all the provisions of the Trust are carried out, assets are distributed, new Trusts (if any) are established, and all tax returns are filed. I will help guide your heirs through these processes so that it is as quick and easy as possible for them.

ASSET AND FAMILY PROTECTION

Everyone worries about having enough money to provide for their care for the rest of their lives, and most people also want to have something left to leave to their heirs. Parents are always concerned about what will happen to their kids, especially if they are minors. Surviving children will need a place to live, someone to take care of them, and someone to take care of their money. Sometimes creditors may be an issue, and there’s a worry that all or a significant portion of an inheritance may go to a creditor. This can be prevented, and all of these concerns are addressed in an estate plan.