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ESTATE PLANNING

 

WILLS AND TRUSTS

The drafting of a will or trust is a very personal and private endeavor because the very thought that mortality may be lurking around the next corner is indeed sobering. Whether you’re 25 or 75, taking an assessment of your affairs tugs at your life’s momentum upon which you want to never let go.
Unfortunately, one often seeks to avenge the shortness of life by dividing up one’s assets in such a way as if you believe you could still rule from the grave. This gives your heirs the jitters.

In preparing a will, it should be understood that it is a mechanism to define what person or, for the charitable-minded, what institution will be the recipient of your life’s good fortune. If you had no will, your estate would flow to your family, and the statutes outline pecking order in which this would occur. But should you wish to leave all or part of your estate to friends or loved one’s not in your family, then a will is the surest way to go (especially if you want to protect these people from your family). Simply call us to make an appointment and we can discuss with you how to best accomplish your wishes.

Sometimes people opt for creating a living or intervivos trust as an alternate method of disposing of their estate. Done properly, a trust can easily, and without probate, transfer title to your heirs upon your death. You still have to pay off any debts left by you at the time of your death, but a trust is sometimes a handy tool in which to manage your affairs. The main drawback is that while you’re alive you have to re-title everything you own in the name of the trust, and this can be cumbersome. So give us a call and we can discuss what might be most appropriate for your situation.

HEALTH CARE SURROGATE, LIVING WILL, POWER OF ATTORNEY

While you’re at it, you may as well have us prepare for you one or more of these documents as they are a handy way to deal with crisis situations when next of kin is not what works for you.

A Living Will is a document in which you authorize a particular person to decide whether or not to continue extraordinary life support systems in the case where you are being kept alive artificially.

By designating a Health Care Surrogate, you are appointing a person to make medical decisions on your behalf, short of pulling the plug (see Living Will.) This comes into play if you should be in need of emergency medical assistance and you are either unconscious or insufficiently alert to make reasonable decisions.

Finally, a Durable Power of Attorney is the granting of authority to an individual to conduct business transactions on your behalf as if you yourself would do so if you were available. For example, if you should become ill and you need money to pay your electric bill, someone else can deal with it for you. It also gives that person the power to sell your house and your Microsoft stock, so be cautious in its use.

Do you have a legal issue not addressed here? Contact us to find out more.