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Is Having a Will Enough?

If you have a will you’ve already taken a step that half of all Americans have neglected. However simple it may be for protecting your assets and heirs, there are additional steps you should take in order to ensure a more comprehensive estate plan – such as living trusts, powers of attorney for finances and health care directives. An estate plan is an essential part of any individual’s legacy, providing comprehensive instructions for how your assets, and your health, should be managed in the event you are unable to make financial or health care decisions. Taking this important step can save significant money and prevent problems down the road – both for yourself and for your family. To ensure a successful planning process, consider these

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What Are The Components of an Estate Plan?

What is an Estate Plan? The dictionary definition of an estate plan is “the arranging for the disposition and management of one’s estate at death through the use of wills, trusts, insurance policies, and other devices.” All adults should have a plan for their estates, and as we age the importance of estate planning increases. People often avoid dealing with estate plans because thinking about end-of-life decisions can be uncomfortable. Some people believe that estate planning is only for wealthy people. Although thinking about end-of-life decisions may be difficult, it is very important, and the level of one’s wealth has nothing to do with the need for an estate plan. What is Included in an Estate Plan? An “estate” is all of the property you

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Some Details in the Estate Settlement Process

Whether you need to appoint someone to be the executor of your own estate, or whether you have been chosen as the executor of someone else’s estate, it is important think about the complexity of the task and the order in which you will complete it. The responsibilities of an Executor can include: Contacting the funeral home and making arrangements, Communicating with family members, local businesses, and agencies, Organizing and creating a schedule for what needs to happen and when it must be done. It is easy to overlook essential details if you do not have a clear plan or professional guidance. Death Certificates/Legal Notices Immediately upon someone’s death, it is necessary to acquire a legal pronouncement of the death from either the decedent’s hospital,

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The Legal Documents You Need When You Travel; The Legal Documents You Need When Your Child Turns 18

It may seem morbid to prepare or assemble estate planning and health care documents for healthy young people, or in anticipation of traveling for a vacation, but accidents and illnesses happen, and for young adults about to leave home, it is especially important that they have appropriate planning documents once they reach the age of 18, because parents will then no longer have access to or control over their children’s health care information, decisions, or finances. There are two essential planning documents that everyone should have digital copies of on their phone or tablet when they travel, and make sure that their 18 year old children sign to insure that proper measures can be taken in the event of an emergency: a Health Care Proxy,

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The Four (or Five) Documents Everyone Needs In Their Estate Plan

Everyone has different estate planning needs; however, all estate plans should have the same, basic documents. A Will. The crux of any estate plan, a will distributes your assets to the persons you want to receive your property when you die. In addition, a will names an executor to manage your estate, and can appoint a legal guardian and trustee for children and grandchildren. A durable power of attorney (POA) authorizes someone to sign your name, and act on your behalf should you become physically or mentally incompetent to handle financial matters.  The person you designate in the POA can pay bills, file taxes and direct investments on your behalf. A Health Care Proxy authorizes someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable

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COVID-19 Highlights The Need for Revocable/Living Trusts

Revocable Trusts, also known as Living Trusts, are being used with greater frequency in estate planning because they offer families immediate access to money and assets without having to wait for a loved one’s Will to be admitted to probate. In a typical Revocable Trust, the creator of the trust (i.e., the grantor) is also the primary beneficiary and trustee during his or her lifetime.  This allows the grantor unfettered access and control over the assets that were transferred into the trust during the grantor’s lifetime. Upon the grantor’s death, a named successor trustee takes over automatically, and distributes the assets as specified by the grantor in the trust document. Immediate Access to Assets Probate (i.e., the determination by a court as to the validity

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