No one likes to think about themselves or a family member passing away. It is typical to avoid considering or discussing options for your estate planning…that is, until you are left with the grief of losing a loved one as well as the responsibility of handling that loved one’s estate. It is a cumbersome process that, if not skillfully planned, can wreak havoc on your family’s relationships and cause a lot of undue stress.
Designing your estate plan does not have to be time consuming or overwhelming. The best news is that designing your estate plan now, rather than leaving your family to handle it after you pass, allows your family to grieve your passing and celebrate your life and legacy without the extra burden of distributing your estate.
There are multiple options for your estate plan, with which our attorneys at the Olsinski Law Firm can assist you. During your consultation, you and your attorney will review your estate and wishes for distribution at your passing. Your attorney will devise a plan that meets your goals and provides the most optimal outcome. Give us a call to schedule your design meeting!
- Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives – A power of attorney is a document wherein you assign your decision-making rights over to another to handle, either temporarily or permanently. Powers of attorney can be granted for your financial or healthcare decisions and can be limited in scope or very broad. Every state has particular language requirements for powers of attorney, and powers of attorney can be very simple or very complicated, depending on your goals. You want to be very careful to have an attorney draft the documents for you, rather than trust an online form production website. Healthcare directives or Living Wills are specific guidelines that you wish for your medical providers and family to honor in the event you are incapacitated or deceased. Like powers of attorney, the particular directives may be very limited or very broad, depending on your wishes.
- Final Will and Testament – A final Will and Testament is a basic form of estate planning that provides for distribution of your assets at your passing. In a Will, you designate an executor to manage your estate and detail who inherits what asset. Wills are open to the probate process so, depending on the size or situation of your assets, creation of a trust may be more appropriate. Wills are also open to contest by others if not drafted and executed correctly. This fact makes online forms very dangerous. Talk with an attorney to determine which type of estate plan best meets your family’s needs.
- Minor Guardianship – Many parents know the “necessaries” of estate planning for their children, but neglect to establish a legal guardianship of their children in the event that something should happen to them and their children are without care. With a little discussion and planning, your children will have the safety net in place that prevents the need for the Department of Social Services to step in when an emergency arises. Minor guardianships can be established with little effort but are invaluable when needed. Minor guardianships can even be put into place without a formal estate plan! If you have children, a minor guardianship is a must. Talk with one of our family law attorneys to discuss the steps you can take to protect your children today.
- Family Trust – It is a common misunderstanding that a family trust is only needed by the wealthy. If you own a home or have a life insurance policy and children, a trust can provide the protection you just don’t get with a Will. Trusts can be as creative as you like, provide for asset control, avoid probate, and can even deter later marriages and stepfamily inheritances long after you pass. Let our attorneys evaluate your personal situation and craft a trust that works to not only protect your family’s assets but creates a legacy for generations to come!