My experience as a financial advisor provides me with a unique insight into estate planning. While planning for your eventual death is one part of planning, there are other issues which can affect your life that can and should be dealt with as part of your overall estate plan. While providing your family with a properly drafted will can help minimize estate probate issues and in some cases, you may be better off with a trust agreement that will help avoid probate completely. Some of the other issues I can help with when working on your estate plan include:
- Advance Directives – an advanced directive can be used in one of two ways: First, you may specify what specific care you prefer to have or which care you prefer be withheld in the event you are unable to make decisions. Second, you may appoint a specific person, known as an agent, who could communicate those wishes to your medical team in the event you are unable to do so on your own. These directives can be changed or nullified at any time after they are originally signed in the event you change your mind. Without such directives, all available medical measures will be taken to keep you alive regardless of your medical condition.
- Power of Attorney – rather than leave decisions to chance, powers of attorney allow you to appoint someone you trust to manage your financial and other affairs in the event you become incapacitated. Powers of attorney can have a “triggering event” such as incapacity, illness, etc. at which time your agent could manage your affairs on your behalf.
Wills and Trusts
Many people do not understand how important it is to leave specific written instructions for the distribution of their assets. Oftentimes, this leads to family quarrels, disputes over how assets are distributed and too often, hurt feelings. By having a complete estate plan, including a will, or in some cases, where it is warranted, a trust agreement, you are able to designate which of your assets are left to specific persons or charities.
If you are interested in drafting a comprehensive estate plan, contact me at (804) 358-2909 or email me for all your estate planning needs. I can help document your wishes so there are no questions in the event if your incapacity or death.