The Basics of Life and Estate Planning

The Purpose of Life and Estate Planning

It is our hope that this brochure will motivate you to begin your planning today! No one wants to think about their own mortality or incapacity, but leaving your planning to chance and circumstances will only breed disaster. Do you and your loved ones a favor-stop procrastinating and plan NOW!

Our purpose is to provide you with information about Life and Estate Planning and the many options used in the process. The documents involved include Durable Power of Attorneys, Patient Advocate Designations (Living Wills), Living Trusts and Wills.

Life Planning involves implementing the necessary steps to avoid a “Living Probate” if there is disability. Estate Planning involves putting your house in order to provide for the orderly management and disposition of your property at the time of your death.

Our children and grandchildren can inherit all the money and/or property we can give them, but can they inherit more intelligence, maturity and responsibility? Our instinctive response is no. However, with proper planning, we can accomplish this and much more as illustrated by the following mission.

Mission

“I want to control my property while I am alive, take care of my loved ones if I become disabled and give what I have to whom I want, the way I want, and when I want. If I can, I also want to save every tax dollar, professional fee and court cost possible.”

Why a Will is NOT Enough

Did you know that writing a Will is one of the biggest mistakes that we can make? It’s true! In fact, the only thing worse than having a Will is the nightmare caused by having no Will at all.

A Will is a document that provides instructions stating how your property is to be disposed of at death and must be properly signed according to the law. If you have minor children, it is also the proper form to appoint a Guardian.

Our children and grandchildren can inherit all the money and/or property we can give them, but can they inherit more intelligence, maturity and responsibility? Our instinctive response is no. However, with proper planning, we can accomplish this and much more as illustrated by the following mission.

It is a myth that a Will provides for our future and security of our loved ones. Nothing can be further from the truth. A Will does not provide protection from a lifetime disability. A Will only becomes effective when we die and is given life by the Probate Court. A WILL IS A GUARANTEE TO PROBATE! Probate is expensive, time consuming and a matter of public record. The only good thing one can say about Probate is you can avoid it.

Durable Power of Attorney – A MUST for Everyone

Did you know that if you become incapacitated you will be subject to a “Living Probate?” Probate for your health care and personal decisions is called a Guardianship and for your financial affairs it is known as a Conservatorship.

It is a common misunderstanding to believe that your spouse, children or relatives can act for you during a disability. The truth is, if you cannot make your own decisions or sign your name, a Court will.

In fact, the entire Probate process, whether it is a “Living” or “Death” Probate is optional. It is your choice. It is very simple. Instead of dealing with the emotional trauma, financial costs and delays of Probate, you will be able to devote your efforts to caring for your loved ones during their disability.

It is essential that everyone over 18 years of age creates a Durable Power of Attorney. The word “Durable” means that it is different from an ordinary Power of Attorney in that incapacity does not affect it. Simply put, a Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to delegate your personal, health care and financial responsibilities to an agent. The authority you give your agent can be as broad or narrow as you choose.

Seldom does one decision overcome so many obstacles. The power of the Living Trust.

If you think a Living Trust is only for millionaires, you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether you earn $25,000 or $1,000,000 a year and whether your assets are large or small, a Living Trust will save you money and increase the value of your estate.

The crucial point is-a Living Trust can just about offer something for everyone. Do you want to avoid Probate? Minimize estate taxes? Do you need protection for a disabled child, adult or relative? Do you want to prevent your children from paying Uncle Sam substantial capital gains from appreciated property, such as real estate and stocks? If your answer to any or all these questions is “yes,” a Living Trust may be for you.

Benefits of the Living Trust

  • Probate Free (Death and Living)
  • Privacy
  • Easy to change, create and maintain
  • Greater control-flexibility
  • Quick distribution or keep assets in trust
  • Upon disability, takes care of you and your loved ones
  • Protects disabled children/adults with special needs
  • One “collective pot” for all property
  • Hard to contest
  • Minimize Estate Taxes

The Best Method:
Nothing Changes – Buy/Sell Assets as before and file the same tax returns.