Estate planning starts with a Will. The Will is a legal document which transfers your property, upon your death, to your beneficiaries in the manner you decide. However, a Will needs to go through Probate, a long, public and expensive process through the court system. The key to avoiding probate is careful attention to estate planning. As your attorney, I can work closely with your accountant or financial advisor to determine what estate planning instruments are appropriate for your situation. The most important strategy for avoiding the public probate administration is creating a Trust.
A Trust is a document that conveys your property into the Trust, which then holds and administers your property, per your desires. A Trust can also help protect your property from any potential creditors.
There are also several key documents that every Estate Plan needs. Because the documents are so important, we also provide these documents as a separate service, at a reduced price. They are the Durable Power of Attorney, that enables a named person to make financial decisions for you; a Healthcare Surrogate or Healthcare Power of Attorney, that enables a named person to make healthcare related decisions for you; a HIPPA release, so that a named person, usually a close family member, can speak with your medical providers; a Living Will, that clearly states your intention regarding life support. These documents are critical to have for everyone, regardless of your financial strength.
Many single or married people need only a simple will, living will, and durable power of attorney to complete their estate plan. Together we will evaluate your goals and resources, consult with your CPA or financial planner, and help you determine whether the modest investment in a trust is appropriate in your situation.