Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Some people hear the term, “estate planning,” and believe it does not apply to them because they only have modest assets, if any. In the legal sense, however, an estate planning consultation will include planning for not only the distribution of assets, but also the healthcare, mental healthcare, and the future well being of the person. Estate Planning refers much more than a person’s financial portfolio. In fact, whether your finances and possessions are modest or you have hundreds of thousands of dollars, you have an Estate and need to plan for its management.

Attorneys have multiple means at their disposal to assist a person in protecting his or her assets and wellbeing. Attorneys utilize General, Healthcare, and Durable Powers of Attorney, Wills, Living Wills, Beneficiary Deeds and Trusts to help protect a client’s assets or to assist in distributing those assets to designated persons.

Powers of Attorney documents allow a person to elect a trusted friend or family member to handle financial, legal, or medical matters if you are unavailable or unable to make certain decisions for yourself. A Living Will allows a person to choose when to end life support if her or she ends up in a terminal state. A Will is a document that allows a person to choose beneficiaries of his or her assets, to name a personal representative to guide the distribution of assets in the estate, to name a guardian for minor children, and waive the bond typically required to probate an estate.  A Trust is a document that allows a person to distribute property or to provide financially for loved ones while they are still alive or after they die.  The main distinction between a Will and a Trust is that a Trust legally owns specified property for the benefit of others, while a Will is a mechanism to distribute assets after a person’s passing.  There are many reasons to choose a Trust in addition to a Will, though the benefits of a Trust are not necessary for everybody.

By planning your estate now, you can bring peace of mind and prevent emotional burdens on your family members and friends. If you prepare a living will now, then your family does not have to make the difficult decision of when to end life support. A general power of attorney, mental power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney will all prevent outside parties from draining your estate financially and abusing power over medical decisions. We often find people come into our office seeking a power of attorney or changes to a will when it is already too late, and the person lacks the competence or ability to do so. We recommend completing your estate plan today, so that you can sleep soundly knowing you and your family are protected.

If you have further questions about why you need an Estate Plan, or would like to set up a free consultation to prepare certain Estate Planning documents, feel free to call The Carroll Law Firm at 623-551-9366 at your convenience.

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