While nobody wants to think about death or disability, establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Proper estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, it can also spare your loved ones of the expense, delay and frustration associated with managing your affairs when you pass away or become disabled.
A Will is a legal document that describes exactly what you want done with your assets and minor children if you die. Designing and implementing a Will is most effective when completed before a crisis occurs as inadequate preparation for life transitions and delayed response often lead to increased costs and loss of control over important personal and financial choices.
A carefully drafted will is a great way to protect your family, to avoid unnecessary estate taxes and to carry out your wishes with regard to your estate. Through the use of wills, trusts, life gifts and other estate planning tools, Scott Legal Services, P.C. can help you best preserve your assets for your loved ones.
Providing for Incapacity
Many are under the mistaken impression that their spouse or adult children can automatically take over for them in the event they become incapacitated. The truth is that in order for others to be able to manage your finances, they must petition a court to declare you legally incompetent and this process can be lengthy, costly and stressful. Legal hassles can be avoided if you designate a person or persons that you trust in proper legal documents so that they will have the authority to withdraw money from your accounts, pay bills, sell stocks, and refinance your home.
In addition to planning for the financial aspect of your affairs during incapacity, you should establish a plan for your medical care. The law allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf about medical treatment options if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. You can do this by using a durable power of attorney for health care where you designate the person to make such decisions. In addition to a power of attorney for heath care, you should also have a living will which informs others of your preferred medical treatments such as the use of extreme measures should you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill.
Making it Easier For Survivors If You Die
If you leave your estate to your loved ones using a will, everything you own will pass through something called probate. The process is expensive, time-consuming and open to the public. Also, If you are married and have children, you want to make certain that your surviving family has immediate access to cash to pay for living expenses while your estate is being settled. With proper planning, your assets can pass on to your loved ones without undergoing probate, in a manner that is quick, inexpensive and private. We can guide you through this process.
Providing for Minor Children
It is important that your estate plan address issues regarding the upbringing of your children when you are not around. That is, who will take care of them, are there special things you want to leave to them or for them to do. You should also consider the possibility of both you and your spouse dying simultaneously, or within a short duration of time.
Scott Legal, P.C. will make sure your plan includes the following 3 essential elements:
By executing a Will, you can increase the certainty that your estate assets will transfer according to your wishes. This is accomplished by documenting who exactly your assets and money should go to, who should take care of your children and who will be an Executor to oversee the administration of your estate.
2. LIVING WILL & HEALTH CARE PROXY
A living will gives you the right to make decisions concerning your health care in advance, and to appoint a trusted person to see those decisions through. A Living Will, also known as an Advance Directive, memorializes your health care decisions, thereby providing instructions for your health care provider to follow, even if you are not able to make such decisions for yourself. A Health Care Proxy, which is typically included in a Living Will, names a trusted individual to enforce your health care decisions. Your Living Will and Health Care Proxy only take effect if you are unable to make health care decisions due to severe illness or incapacity.
You also have the right to appoint a trusted person to make financial and other non-health related decisions on your behalf, such as handling a bank account or transferring real estate, should you become unable to do so. This is accomplished through the execution of a Power-of-Attorney, in which you appoint an Agent to act on your behalf.
Let Scott Legal, P.C. guide you through the complex world of estate planning so that you can sleep well at night knowing that you and your family are protected. At our firm we understand that each client’s concerns are unique, and we create plans to give our clients the comfort of knowing that their loved ones will be prepared to respond decisively when the need arises. That level of comfort exists not just because of our technical ability, but also because of our superior and acute listening skills. A commitment to that process allows us to understand what it is you need and how best to give that to you.