Wills and Trusts:
It is highly recommended that everyone, regardless of income and assets, have some sort of estate plan and healthcare directives in place. Without a Last Will and Testament, there are currently nine possible ways in which your property could be distributed to your spouse and family. A Last Will and Testament is a very inexpensive way to document exactly who you want handling your affairs, who you want as the guardian of your children and how exactly you want your property to change hands upon your death. At our office, an estate planning/will lawyer will meet with you and complete a detailed worksheet to determine your assets and what your wishes are for your children and your estate.
For very detailed wishes regarding your property or for tax purposes, a trust document in addition to a Will may be recommended. A trust is typically a private, lengthy document outlining the rights and obligations that others will have to the property that you place into the trust and outlining when and for what purposes property can be used or transferred. Trusts are useful if one wishes to maintain a home or land within a family, if beneficiaries are minors or if there are significant assets that need to be managed and disbursed.
In addition to Wills and Trusts, it is also recommended that everyone discuss advance healthcare directives, such as end of life care, with an attorney. An experienced estate planning/will lawyer can review or draft an advance healthcare directive that will provide guidance to medical providers regarding your wishes should you become incapable of making your own healthcare decisions as to which medical treatments you want and which ones you do not. In addition, the office can also assist with preparing any relevant power of attorney documents that may be desired by the client. A power of attorney gives someone you designate the authority to act in a way that you specify. As each person’s situation is unique, contact the office to discuss estate planning documents and costs.