Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust

The foundation of your Estate Plan is either your Last Will and Testament or your Revocable Living Trust (or Family Trust).

  • Where do you want your assets (home, investments, bank accounts, retirement, insurance, personal property) to go after you pass away? Options include surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, charitable organizations, etc.
    • A Will or Trust will disburse your assets according to your wishes and can reduce or eliminate estate taxes.
      • Different distribution options are available depending on whether you select a Will or a Trust.

Guardians for Minor Children

  • Who will care for your minor children if you pass away? Who would manage your children's assets while they are still minors? At what age do you want them to receive their inheritance? What if short term care is needed for my children?
    • You can Nominate Guardians and Conservators for your children and set up a Trust to manage the assets that you leave to your children.
    • You can name Temporary Guardians for your children, so they never have to experience the difficulty and uncertainty of Child Protective Services.

Durable Power of Attorney

  • If you were injured and unable to manage your own affairs, whom would you want to make medical and financial decisions for you?
    • A Durable Power of Attorney will allow you to choose that person and any successors that might be needed. This document effectively eliminates the need for a guardianship in such a situation.

Living Will or Health Care Directive

  • If you were so badly injured that your doctors determined that you were in a "persistent vegetative state," what would you like to have done to you and for you?
    • A Living Will or Health Care Directive allows you to choose how you wish to be treated in such circumstances and allows you to appoint a medical agent to carry out your wishes.

Specific Family Needs

  • All of the following situations require unique planning to address your family's specific needs.
    • Do your have a blended family?
    • Are you in a long term relationship, but not married?
    • Do you have a child who is developmentally disabled?
    • Do you have a child that is financially immature?