What is estate planning?
It covers making the arrangements and putting documents in place so that our assets are distributed after our death. That’s the most basic take and it is something we should all do.
But estate planning with us also looks at other issues that may crop up before our death. Smart planning also tries to address choosing people who can assist in our financial affairs and our medical affairs if we are unable to do so ourselves for whatever reason. And for those with minor children, planning can help determine who should be their guardian or conservator if you die.
While estate planning can be straightforward and direct, part of the value of estate planning with an attorney is an analysis of the many possible moving parts, property and people involved in your situation. You may want quite a bit of control. or you might surrender control of assets. You may have potential heirs or beneficiaries who are bad with money or who might be receiving means tested benefits. You might wonder if you could afford nursing home care for months on end without sending a spouse to the poorhouse. You may want to discuss with us avoiding probate or minimizing creditor claims or taxes.
The typical arrangements can include a will, a durable power of attorney document, and a medical power of attorney document (designation of patient advocate). Additional and slightly more sophisticated arrangements might include a trust, deed arrangements for your real estate, account designations, gifting arrangements and so on. It’s worth doing to give you better peace of mind and to give some direction and a bit of comfort to those who may be our caregivers or beneficiaries or heirs.