• Estate Planning Center



    "Estate planning" is a process to consider alternatives for, to think through, and to set up legally effective arrangements that would meet your specific wishes if "some-thing happens" to you or those you care about.
     
    Good estate planning is more than "just a simple Will". Estate planning also typically minimizes potential taxes and fees, and sets up contingency planning to make sure your
    wishes regarding health care treatment are followed.
     
    On the financial side, a good estate plan coordinates what would happen with your home, your investments, your business, your life insurance, your employee benefits (such as a pension plan), and other property in the event you became disabled or if you die.
     
    On the personal side, a good estate plan includes directions to carry out your wishes regarding health care matters, so that if you ever are unable to give the directions yourself, someone you select would do that for you and know when you would want them to authorize "heroic measures" and when you would prefer they "pull the plug". 
     


 
When Should I Start My Estate Plan?
 
The only time that you can prepare and implement an estate plan is while you
are alive and have legal capacity to enter into a contract.  If you are unable to manage your own affairs or suffer from some other disability which affects your legal capacity, your estate plan may be effectively challenged by those who assert that you lacked capacity at the time the documents were created, that you were subjected to fraud, coercion or undue influence during the creation and
implementation of your plan.
 
The best time to start an estate plan is now, while you have the capacity to do so.

 

 

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What Is An Estate?
 
The term "estate" consists of all the property a person owns or controls, whether in his or her sole name, held in a partner-ship, in a joint ownership arrangement, or through a trust, and all other monies that would be generated on the person's death, such as through life insurance. It includes:
  • real property and things attached to it (houses,
  • buildings, barns, etc.)
  • all personal property (including automobiles, bank
  • accounts, stocks and bonds, cash, furniture,
  • jewelry, art, collectibles, retirement plan benefits, etc.)
  • all businesses and business interests (sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, joint ventures, and the goodwill, inventory, tools and
    equipment, accounts receivable, and other business property, etc.)
  • powers of appointment (the right to direct who gets someone else's property)
  • life insurance, pension benefits, and pension plans, all debts and obligations owed to others
Who Should Have An Estate Plan?
 
You should have an estate plan if:
 
  • you are the parent of minor children
  • you have property that you care about
  • you care about your health care treatment.

 

If you do not have minor children, do not care about your property, and have no concerns about your health care treatment, then you do not need an estate plan. But if you meet any of these categories above, you should have an estate plan.

 

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