In a will you state who you want to inherit your property, both real and personal, and you can name a guardian to care for your young children should something happen to you and the other parent. You also direct who administers your estate whether it be a family member or someone else.
If you hold your property in a "living" or "revocable" trust your survivors won't have to go through the time consuming, expensive process of probate court. Shield your children and beneficiaries from creditors with special trust provisions. There is a trust available for most any situation when you work with us to craft your unique trust documents.
Laying out your wishes in advance for health care decisions can protect you if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself. Health care directives include a health care declaration or "living will" and a power of attorney for health care or health care proxy. This allows someone of your choosing to make decisions if you cannot.
With a durable power of attorney for finances (and other matters) you can name a trusted person the authority to handle your finances and property if become incapacitated and are unable to handle your own financial affairs. The person you name to handle your finances is called your attorney-in-fact (not usually a licensed attorney) or agent. You can also name successor attorneys-in-fact in case that person is unable to handle your affairs in your stead.
Whichever estate planning vehicle you choose, you have the power to appoint an adult or private entity (a bank) to manage any money and property your minor children or children with special needs inherit from you. You can name that person in a will or a trust, the choice is yours.
Naming a beneficiary for bank accounts and retirement plans makes the account automatically payable on your death to the named beneficiary and allows the funds and the beneficiary to skip the probate process. This can be done with stocks, bonds, etc.
If you have young children or children with special needs or if you owe significant debts, life insurance might be a valuable and efficient tool to consider.
Rather than a funeral prepayment plan, which might be unreliable, you can create a payable on death account at your bank and deposit funds into it which will go towards your funeral and related expenses.
Are you the sole owner of a business? You need a plan for who you want to take over at your death. Do you own a business with others? You need a clearly delineated buyout or succession agreement.
You have created a well laid plan for taking care of your loved ones after your
death. Don't let it get derailed because no one can find your estate planning
documents! Your attorney-in-fact or the personal representative will need access
to the following documents:
Real estate deeds
Stock and bond certificates, etc.
Bank account information
Safe deposit boxes
Information on debts, mortgages, loans, etc.
Funeral payment plans or accounts.