Estate planning is an important part of ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. It involves creating a comprehensive plan that includes documents such as a will, trust, power of attorney, living will, and more. When creating an estate plan, there are several factors to consider, such as the needs of your beneficiaries, taxes, probate, health care directives, insurance policies, and more. At Birk Law Firm, we understand the importance of estate planning and can help you create a plan that meets your needs.
In this article, we'll discuss the important factors to consider when creating an estate plan.
Needs of Your BeneficiariesWhen deciding which assets you want to leave to your beneficiaries, consider their age, financial status, and gift or inheritance taxes. A trust is a legal agreement in which a trustee holds the assets of a grantor for the benefit of a beneficiary. This can help keep your assets out of probate and set detailed rules for when and how beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
Health Care DirectivesA comprehensive estate plan includes a specific plan for getting the treatment you would want when you can't make or communicate decisions. Without proper health care directives, you may not get the treatment you want. Designations of beneficiaries in things such as retirement accounts supersede any instruction in your will or trust.
Insurance PoliciesInsurance policies could also have a place in your estate plan.
The specific documents required depend on your circumstances. Some of the most common documents include a last will and will, a power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. Some people also need one or more trusts.
Letter of IntentA letter of intent is simply a document left to your executor or beneficiary.
The purpose is to define what you want to do with a particular asset after its death or disability. Some letters of intent also provide details of the funeral or other special requests.
Power of AttorneyIt is essential to draft a permanent power of attorney (POA), so that an agent or person you assign will act on your behalf when you are unable to do it yourself. In the absence of a power of attorney, you can let a court decide what happens to your assets if you are found to be mentally incompetent.
BeneficiariesDesignated beneficiaries must be over 21 years of age and mentally competent. If they are not, a court may end up getting involved in the matter. When you call your estate planning attorney at Birk Law Firm at 573-212-8852, your first call and consultation is free and without obligation.
When you meet with an attorney to discuss matters such as your last will and will, you will need to consider the above factors. No matter what you decide, be sure to share your wishes with the executor of your estate and your family members. A properly drafted estate plan can preserve an estate, minimize tax burdens and protect beneficiaries' inheritances.