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Advance Planning, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts

Everyone Needs Advance Planning Documents

No matter your age, marital status, and whether or not you have children, Advance Planning documents not only protect you, but also help your family when catastrophic events happen.  Advance Planning documents generally consist of: (1) a Will; (2) an Advance Directive; (3) a Financial Power of Attorney; and (4) a Trust.

A Will directs people to manage your finances and care for your children after your death.  It protects your assets, and ensures that they are distributed to the people or organizations you want to receive them.  It ensures that your children are protected and cared for, by nominating a person to be the guardian of their "Person" (who provides daily care for them until they are old enough) and the guardian of their "Property" (who manages any assets they have until they are old enough).  It also directs a named person to be the Personal Representative (or Executor) to manage your estate, rather than having an attorney or other appointed person take that role (usually at the expense of your estate).

A Financial Power of Attorney nominates a specific person to manage your finances while you are alive, but unable to do it on your own.  They pay your bills, manage your investments, and act as though they are you, in terms of protecting your finances.

An Advance Directive nominates a specific person to manage your medical care while you are alive, but unable to do so on your own.  They will make medical decisions on your behalf, in consultation with your doctors.  An Advance Directive also gives you the power to pull back some of the authority granted to your designee, so you can decide what your end-of-life care will look like.  An Advance Directive also makes it clear whether you want to make any organ or tissue donations, and what your goals are for a funeral and burial/cremation.

A Trust is a document that separates current management of assets from future benefit of those assets.  They are generally used for people with either high net worth, or who have family members that receive government benefits.  They come in many different forms, from trusts that come into existence as soon as they are signed, to those that do not start until some event (like someone's death) has occurred.  There are many reasons why a person would want to have a trust, from wealth preservation, to asset protection, to minimizing some people's ability to access your assets in the future.

Call or email us to discuss how we can tailor Advance Planning documents to best protect you and your family, while preserving your assets for future generations.

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