Estate Planning involves decisions regarding the gifting of property during one’s life or at death and, aside from property or wealth, dealing with end of life issues. It is often thought that estate planning involves complex transactions or that a Trust is required to cover most situations. However, most of the planning for property and end of life issues is far more simple.
Regarding the transfer of property during life or at death, owning property in survivorship, designating beneficiaries for property, or transferring real estate by affidavit to avoid probate are matters that everyone should consider while they are alive and healthy enough to make decisions. A Durable Business Power of Attorney is a tool that can be used during your lifetime to help an individual who might not be able to, for physical or mental reasons, handle his or her personal affairs. Additionally, creating your Last Will and Testament would provide directions to your survivors, giving instructions on how to manage or transfer your property after death.
As for issues related to your health, “advance directives” can name trusted individuals to help you to make decisions with regard to your medical care. A Healthcare Power of Attorney would name one or more individuals that would be able to make healthcare decisions in the event the person creating that Power of Attorney is unable to make his or her decisions because of health issues. Additionally, a Living Will is your declaration of your wishes as to your care at life’s end, particularly if you enter into a permanent state of unconsciousness.
Most individuals can develop an effective estate plan to manage their lives and assets without having to create a Trust and transfer property. If you would like to consider Estate Planning, or if you need to review a plan you already have in place, our attorneys will assist you. For complicated planning that includes issues of Medicaid, a referral can be made.
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