Many people think that creating an estate plan is only for the wealthy, but the truth is anyone with a home, and a family should have a comprehensive Estate Plan established. Creating an Estate Plan is a crucial part of protecting what you have worked so hard to build.
No one wants to think about the question “what will happen when I am gone?” and hard “what if?” questions. However, those without an Estate Plan in place are risking costly probate battles, not choosing where your assets go, leaving difficult decisions for family members to fight over, and leaving many more issues for loved ones.
There are four documents that need to be prepared to make sure no box goes unchecked. Here are the elements to a comprehensive Estate Plan and why they matter for you and your family.
A Will or Testament is the oldest established means for transferring property. A Will allows you to designate beneficiaries and Administers. This allows you to avoid default laws termed Intestacy. Most Estate Plans will draft a will to include your assets. These assets will then “pour” into the Trust in the case of your death.
The will is also the document where you specify where your dependent children would go if you were to pass away. This decision is too important to hand over to the courts and can be something that divides families.
A Living or Inter Vivos Trust is an instrument which allows individuals to avoid the cost and expense of probate. Probate can become extremely expensive and can be a very lengthy process. A trust will ensure that your family members or beneficiaries won’t have to go through that process.
Trusts are living documents in as much as they can be changed during your lifetime. Once you die, however, the trust becomes “irrevocable” requiring your successor trustees and beneficiaries to follow your desires.
A Living Will is an important health directive. The document identifies to the world your desires in case of a life or death situation where artificial life support is needed. Without a Living Will, your friends and relatives may fight amongst themselves as to whether or not to terminate your life support. This is a difficult position for anyone to be in, having a Living Will established will ensure you are InCharge of that decision.
Power of Attorney
As we age, a good portion of our country is diagnosed with illnesses which may eventually rob them of their capacity to care for themselves. Because the Trust only comes into play when a person dies, individuals may need a temporary guardian who can access their medical and financial records for the duration of their lives. The Power of Attorney will assist individuals in filing taxes, access medical records, sell jointly owned property, and obtain government assistance. If you can’t make decisions about your estate, make sure you have the directive to assign who can make decisions for you.
Numerous studies show that 50% of Americans do not have a comprehensive Estate Plan that includes a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, and Medical Directive. With a proper Estate Plan in place, you can rest easy knowing in the event of incapacitation or death, your wishes will be followed and your family will be taken care of
Prime Corporate Services offers a comprehensive Estate Plan service to make sure all of these boxes are checked. Request a consultation to learn more about how we can help you with your situation.