Our assets, both tangible and intangible: Home, cars, bank accounts, jewelry, personal property. Anything that can be assigned a monetary value.
Planning for the care of ourselves and our families in the event of incapacity or death. Planning for the distributing of our assets (home, accounts, etc.) to our children or loved ones.
Our personal directions to a Probate Court; effective only at death & only if presented to a Probate Court. It tells the court what you want done to your assets and how you want them to be distributed.
ANYONE over the age of 17.
A document appointing a person to handle our financial affairs in the event of our incapacity. Authority ends at death.
A document appointing a person to handle our healthcare decisions in the event of our incapacity.
A document to medical professionals & family members declaring your healthcare desires & wishes if you can no longer communicate for yourself. Every adult needs one so there is no confusion on what kinds of extraordinary measures (if any) they would like to be taken to keep them alive on life support.
A Trust is a legal document that tells a Trustee (chosen by you as the creator of the Trust) how you want your assets to be handled if you are incapacitated or in the event of your death. So long as your assets are owned properly by the Trust, it does not need to be brought before the Court, so it’s totally private. And, the person you choose as the Trustee has totally control over the process, which is often a lot less expensive and much quicker than the Court process called probate, which is required with only a Will.
Once someone reaches the age of 18, they at least need to get both a financial and medical Durable Power of Attorney. Then, Estate Planning should be an ongoing process throughout his or her life. Almost all major milestones in life (marriage, births of children, major purchases/investments, etc.) require some evaluation under your Estate Plan to make sure that your assets are taken care of in the way you wish. Find out more about what Estate Planning documents you may need by downloading our complimentary Estate Planning Checklist.