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What is Estate Planning?

Protect yourself, your assets, and your family

The Four Pillars of an Estate Plan

A SOLID FOUNDATION

An estate plan is much more than a simple will. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to planning for death, but it is also important to consider incapacity. 

There are four pillars to a solid estate plan, and we’ll go over each below. 

Passing Assets upon Death

TRUSTS AND WILLS

TRUSTS

A Trust will pass your assets seamlessly and allow you to avoid probate court. It gives you the control of determining who receives your assets, when they receive your assets, and the conditions surrounding their receipt of your asset. 

WILLS

A Will is a set of instructions to a court in probate. A will is used in the event that your assets go to court. A will acts as a fail-safe for any assets that may not have ended up in your trust. The will can give the instructions upon death to the court in probate for any assets that were left out of the trust for some reason, and boot them into the trust.   

A will also sets forth guardianship for children.  

Check out the WILLS VS TRUSTS page for more details and comparisons between wills and trusts.

Incapacity Documents

FINANCE AND MEDICAL
 

FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY

The Power of Attorney for Financials allows a person to step into your shoes and handle your finances in the event that you are unable to do so. This allows your agent – the person you designate as your financial power of attorney – to access your accounts and pay bills. 

This document is often overlooked, and when reviewing old estate plans, the most common document we see missing. 

ADVANCED DIRECTIVE – MEDICAL

This document goes by a few different names depending upon the state in which you live. This document allows your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. 

Go to our INCAPACITY PLANNING page for more information about these two important documents. 

What is Estate Planning : Video

THE FOUR PILLARS OF A SOLID ESTATE PLAN


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