A trusts and estates lawyer can help people create a comprehensive estate plan consisting of documents such as a last will and testament, durable power of attorney, an advanced medical directive, a living will, trusts for minor children, trusts for children or adults with special needs, and a revocable trust.
Additionally, for people who own businesses, a trusts and estates lawyer helps with business succession planning. Lastly, charitable giving and its impact on the estate are also considered to round out a complete estate plan. Contact a skilled trusts and estates lawyer today to begin planning your estate.
Putting Together an Estate Plan
An estate plan consists of documents that taken together represent the wishes a person for their own medical care and treatment and the disposition of their assets. Common documents include the following:
Last Will and Testament
The last will and testament is a written expression of the final wishes of a person about how their possessions will be disposed of at death. Often, a last will and testament will also include the nomination of a personal representative or executor to act on behalf of the estate, burial or cremation wishes, and provisions for trusts for minor children.
Durable Power of Attorney
An individual selects another person to act in their place and make decisions regarding the person’s financial and legal affairs, like buying or selling real estate or stocks, in a document called a durable power of attorney. A power of attorney can assist individuals to plan for incapacity.
Advance Medical Directive/Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Treatment
An advance medical directive or in some cases, a durable power of attorney for medical treatment gives permission to another person to act on behalf of someone in order to make medical decisions about their care and treatment in the event the person is unable to do so because of illness or incapacitation. The document is to allow the agent to access the individual’s medical records, and to make decisions regarding the administration of life support, nutrition and hydration.
Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a trust that is created and funded during an individual’s lifetime. A revocable living trust often creates a streamlined mechanism for uninterrupted management of an individual’s assets. The use of a revocable living trust is one technique used to avoid probate of some of an individual’s assets.
Contacting a Trust and Estates Attorney
Longer life expectancy, in practical terms, means that people need to survive financially longer during a period of diminished earning capacity and chronic illness or incapacity. A trusts and estates lawyer helps people plan for their medical care and treatment as they get older, dispose of a family business or closely held corporation at death or during a period of incapacity, and transfer assets to beneficiaries at death.
This is especially important when the deceased person is responsible for the care and support of a spouse or incapacitated child. Providing for loved ones is the driving force behind a good estate plan. Additionally, the probate process is a legal proceeding where a deceased person’s estate is settled.
A trusts and estates lawyer often represents beneficiaries or the personal representative or executor in probate proceedings. Contact an attorney today to begin the process of estate planning.