What will happen to your children if something happens to you? Who will make your medical decisions if you are not able to make them yourself? Do your loved ones know your wishes or have access to your important documents?
Estate planning is the process of organizing your documents, writing down your wishes, and giving your loved ones the legal authority to carry those wishes out.
The Goal of Estate Planning is Your Peace of Mind
Sounds good, right?
So what's in an estate plan? A typical estate plan contains documents designed to protect you and your family from the unexpected: both during your life and after it.
Common Estate Planning Documents
A Will formalizes your wishes for the transfer of your property after you die. Typically, a Will covers property such as your house and personal belongings, your car, and your bank accounts.
Health Care Planning Documents
The Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself. You may also make a Living Will, which is a statement of your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment. A HIPAA Release allows the people of your choice to have access to your health records.
A Trust allows one person (the Trustee) to hold property for the benefit of another person (the Beneficiary). It can be used for probate avoidance, asset protection, and tax planning. It is also commonly used to manage assets for minor children in the event that a parent dies.