A will is an important starting point for anyone looking to plan for their future.
We recommend our will package as a minimal starting point for those interested in creating an estate plan for themselves and their family.
The most basic functions of a will are:
an explanation of how assets will be distributed upon death;
naming of a personal representative (the person responsible for carrying out your wishes in your will after you pass); and
naming of a guardian (the person responsible for your minor children in the event both parents pass before the child is 18 years old).
NOTE: a will does not prevent your estate from being subject to probate administration. The estate will still need to be submitted to the probate court and the assets / debts will need to be publicly filed. Probate administration is time consuming and costly. To avoid probate, a trust is required.
A trust is the most flexible estate planning tool out there. You get added control and can avoid probate court.
We recommend our trust package to individuals or married couples of all walks, as we can tailor the trust to your specific needs and family dynamic.
The most basic functions of a trust are:
an explanation of how assets will be distributed upon death, with added flexibility, as the trust will remain active in distributing according to your wishes until the trust is fully distributed.
naming of a trustee (the person responsible for managing the trust funds per your direction); and
ability to hold your minor children(s)' distribution for the care of the children, as well as for distribution upon some specific age or event of your choosing.
NOTE: a trust will only allow your estate to avoid probate if it is properly funded. It is essentially the creation of an entity to hold your assets for you. If your assets are not transferred to the trust on an ongoing basis throughout your life, the trust is useless. We will assist you in transferring your current assets to the trust as part of our trust package.
Our trust packages start at $1,000.00 and include a trust, a will, a power of attorney designation, a patient advocate designation, and any re-titling documentation needed to transfer your assets into trust.
Appointing an agent in the event of incapacity is an important aspect of planning.
We recommend appointment of agents to everyone. Whether you are an 18-year-old going on spring break in Cancun or a 90-year-old going into long term care.
Two of the most common agent appointment documents are:
Durable Power of Attorney: this document appoints someone to be responsible for many of your financial decisions in the event you are incapacitated.
Patient Advocate Designation: this document appoints someone to be responsible for your medical decisions in the even you are incapacitated.
NOTE: these agents are different than those appointed in a will or trust because they are typically appointed immediately and remain your agent until your death. At death, the agents listed in your will or trust take over.