When You Need More Than a Will…
There is no cookie-cutter when it comes to estate planning. In fact, comprehensive estate plans look quite different depending on an individual’s age and unique circumstances. For example, a young, healthy, single person may need only a simple estate plan. On the other hand, their parent may have more complex needs and have in place a much more robust and comprehensive estate plan. A solid estate plan should be custom to your needs. You want to forgo elements you don’t need and, alternatively, you don’t want to be without those elements you do need.
One element that is a part of most estate plans is a Last Will and Testament. So, what exactly does a will do? The primary functions of a basic will include naming beneficiaries for your assets and a personal representative for your estate. A will also allows you to explain how you want your property to be divided.
At KLG Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys, when we use the phrase, “comprehensive estate plan”, we’re talking about creating a plan that fits your needs and accomplishes your objectives. Your estate plan should evolve with you, meaning that as you gain additional assets or have significant life changes (like getting married, divorced, or having children), your estate plan should adapt too. The plan that suited you at age 25 is likely no longer complete when you’re 45. A comprehensive estate plan may include:
- A Last Will and Testament
- A Trust
- Health care proxies (you may have heard these called advance directives)
- A Power of Attorney
- A long term care plan
In order to determine which elements you need, you should first discuss your goals and objectives with your estate planning attorney. The objectives of your estate plan might include:
- Managing your assets while you’re still alive
- Naming your beneficiaries
- Naming your estate’s personal representative
- Leaving property and assets to minors
- Protecting your estate from your beneficiaries’ creditors
- Keeping your estate’s information private
- Designating guardians for your minor children
- Minimizing estate taxes
- Putting in place a long-term care plan including nursing home protection
- Potentially avoiding probate and conservatorship
- Protecting your estate from other parties’ challenges
- Making the process after you die simpler and less expensive for your family
Once you’ve taken the time to identify your objectives, work with your estate attorney to put in place an estate plan that suits your needs. While that will most certainly include a Last Will and Testament, it will also likely have at least a few other elements. Our team at KLG Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys believes that ensuring you get your estate plan right is one of the most important things you can do. A solid estate plan will protect your loved ones long after you’re gone.