What is estate planning? 〉
Estate planning is the process of establishing legally compliant arrangements for the use, preservation, and transfer of your assets during disability and after death. Wills, trusts, insurance policies, powers of attorney, and other planning tools are used to accomplish your estate planning objectives. An estate planning attorney is your guide through this process, which will involve not only seeking information from you about your assets but also about your intentions regarding estate planning matters (e.g., avoiding probate, providing for children's educational and/or personal needs, contributing to charity, addressing tax concerns, etc.).
What is included in an estate plan? 〉
The most basic estate plan should generally include a will, a healthcare/medical power of attorney, and a financial power of attorney (sometimes the two types of powers of attorney are combined into one document). Many recommend that a basic estate plan should also include an advance medical directive.
- A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes for how and to whom your assets will be distributed upon your death.
- A healthcare/medical power of attorney is a legal document that gives a trusted individual the authority to manage your medical affairs if you are unable to do so (generally because of a disability of some sort).
- A financial power of attorney is a legal document that gives a trusted individual the authority to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so.
- An advance medical directive is a legally recognized document that makes your wishes known to health care providers regarding your medical treatment, particularly when you may be near death. Although advance medical directives are legally recognized, they are not legally binding on every doctor. In other words, if a doctor doesn't agree with the course of treatment you've chosen, as described in your advance medical directive, they have an obligation to help transfer you to another health care provider who will comply with your wishes.
Why is it important to have an estate plan? 〉
Establishing an estate plan is the best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out when you become disabled or die. That means if/when you become disabled and unable to handle your affairs, those you trust will make decisions in your best interest, whether for medical or financial matters. And upon your death, your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, which most people recognize as one of the primary reasons for having an estate plan. If you don't establish an estate plan, your financial affairs, medical issues, and property will be handled according to the default laws of your state. For example, if you become disabled, and you have not designated a power of attorney, a judge will appoint a family member or friend as your guardian. And if you die without a will, your estate will be handled according to the state's intestate succession laws, which prioritize distributing your property to your spouse and children, or - if you have no spouse or children - to other close relatives. These state law defaults may or may not lead to the same outcomes you would select if you establish your own estate plan, which is an important reason to make sure you have one.
So once I have an estate plan, I never have to touch it again, right?
Why do I need an attorney to create one?
Who do you serve and where?
What is it like to work with you?
Wills and Trusts
- What is a will?
- What is probate? Everyone says to avoid it.
- What is a trust?
- Do I need a trust?
- What other documents should I have?
- What is a power of attorney?
- What do you need to create my estate plan?
- Why do you need so much information?
- How long will it take?
- Do we sign our documents in person?
Pricing and Payment
- What's my investment for an estate plan?
- Why do you charge a fee for consultations?
- Do you accept credit cards?
Security and Systems
- How do you protect my data?
- How do we communicate?
- Are estate planning and financial planning related?
If you have other questions
Please email us at email@example.com or call 202-866-7788 / 540-866-7788