The Estate Plan aspect of your total Financial Plan can be the most daunting. Attempting to plan for something that most of us don’t really want to think about can be difficult. But, planning for what happens to your assets when you pass away is a crucial part of protecting your family and making certain your ultimate wishes are actualized. Individuals and families, both young and old, need to consider making thoughtful, professionally prepared plans that secure the long-term financial future and welfare of loved ones.
Attorney Hank Doyle has been assisting clients in Wake Forest, Cary, Raleigh, and throughout the surrounding area for over 25 years in effectively planning for their estate transfer and long-term care that is appropriate for their individual needs and circumstances. Many of the elements of an estate plan involve complicated legal documents, so it is a good idea to work with an estate planning attorney in order for everything to be completed accurately. This way you can be certain that all of your wishes are carried out when the time comes.
What You Need for an Estate Plan
Each person’s situation is different; therefore, at The Doyle Law Offices P.A., we don’t take a cookie cutter approach. We discuss your individual needs and make recommendations accordingly. There are, however, basic components in an estate plan that most people need, as discussed below.
A will is the first and most basic document that you need when preparing your estate plan. This document lays out who you want to take over your assets when you die. It helps ensure that your assets are distributed properly. If you have young children, your will should state who you want to serve as their guardian in the event you and your spouse become incapacitated.
Trusts are legal master plans that hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. There are different types of trusts, but the person setting up a trust can dictate precisely when and how beneficiaries receive the assets in the trust. A revocable trust helps your estate avoid probate while irrevocable trusts limit exposure to estate taxes. You can also create a trust inside your will, called a testamentary trust; however, this type of trust doesn’t bypass probate.
Power of Attorney (POA)
A power of attorney document designates a person to manage your finances should you become incapacitated. If you are single and don’t have a power of attorney designated, a court will decide who should serve as your guardian and this may not be the person you prefer. So, specifying the power of attorney that you choose is very important.
Health Care Directives
Health care directives are similar to a power of attorney (POA) in that they specify a person to handle your medical decisions, whereas a POA directs a person(s) to handle your financial decisions. Two main documents are in this category of the estate plan. The first document is the living will, which is a written statement providing instructions for your health care in the event you become incapacitated. The second document is a health care proxy that designates a person who makes medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. It’s good to have these documents in place to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Beneficiary designations are made directly on retirement accounts and life insurance policies and supersede what is in your will. Be sure to review these at least once a year to help ensure your needs will be met as your life changes.
The Doyle Law Offices, P.A. has decades of experience working on wills and estate planning with people from all walks of life who have individual situations. We can help you set up the best plan to comply with your wishes and protect the ones you care about.