It is never too early to think about Estate Planning. While no one ever wants to think about dying or becoming disabled, it is important to plan ahead so that your family is protected and you have control over what happens to your property.
There are several critical components to Estate Planning:
Power of Attorney: If you become incapacitated due to injury or illness, you may be unable to manage your finances or business affairs. By planning ahead to name someone who will act for you, you can avoid a lengthy and costly process in Probate Court to appoint someone to act on your behalf. Simply having a will does not help you in the circumstances where you become incapacitated, as the will only takes effect upon your death. Appointing someone you trust to handle your affairs will make sure that your family is protected and cared for if you become incapacitated.
Health Care Proxy: Just as with your financial affairs, if you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, establishing a plan for your medical care is also critical. You are allowed to appoint a Health Care Proxy, someone you trust, to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
Last Will & Testament: Establishing a Will allows you to dictate what will become of your property upon your death. It may also identify guardianship for minor children and if executed with a trust may assist in moving property directly into trust and avoiding the probate process for much if not all of your property.
Trusts: There are several options for creating trusts that will receive your property either during your life or upon your death so that the property passes automatically to the trust outside of the probate process. Trusts can also be structured in a way that allows for estate tax planning. There are potential estate tax implications upon death at both the federal and state level. Using trusts, it is possible to defer taxation to a later date and in some instances to avoid a portion of the taxes that would otherwise be due.
Our office can help you create an Estate Plan that is tailored to meet your needs. Please call us at 781.893.5955.