The overall planning of a person’s wealth during thier lifetime or upon death is generally referred to as  estate planning.  An estate planner must take into consideration the client’s goals and objectives so he or she may advise  as to tax planning and tax consequences.      Estate planning may include the preparation of a will, a trust, a financial power of attorney, a medical power of attorney and an advance healthcare directive (living will).    In order to meet a person’s goals with respect to a tranfer of wealth and to  prepare for incapacity and death a client and estate planner will discuss and analyze  numerous factors, such as current and future finances, current law and anticipated changes in the law, insurance needs, investment strategy, and tax implications.  A knowledgeable and experienced attorney knows exactly what  questions to ask.

Usually, estate planning includes;

  • creation of a will or trust;
  • limiting estate taxes by setting up trust accounts in the name of beneficiaries;
  • appointing a guardian for living dependents;
  • appointing an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the will or a trustee of the trust;
  • setting up methods and means by which assets are transferred to beneficiaries outside of probate;
  • reviewing and revising business agreements so that the passing of business interests under the business agreement does not conflict with the terms of a will or trust;
  • making funeral arrangements; and
  • establishment of annual gifting to reduce the taxable estate.

Being Prepared

Related to estate planning is an area of the law that plans for events happening during a person’s lifetime, such as incapacity and prolonged illness.  This type of planning typically includes:

  • Creation of a power of attorney that appoints a agent-in-fact to manage one’s financial affairs;
  • Appointment of an agent-in-fact under a medical power of attorney to make medical decisions during periods of incapacity or illness;
  • Preparing a statement of preference for a guardian, either in a will or in a stand alone document;
  • Executing a written advance health care directive, which is commonly known as a “living will”, so that one’s end of life preferences may be made known and communicated directly to his or her physician.

Time and time again, we hear of those that waited until tomorrow to begin planning, and sadly, tomorrow was one day too late.  Don’t let the state or other’s decide what you really wanted after it’s too late to tell them.   Contact us to schedule an appointment and we’ll guide and help you to make your plans and wishes known now.

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the year.
— Spanish proverb

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