The subject of estate planning is a complex one that should always be handled by a skilled and knowledgeable estate planning attorney. At The Law Office of Polly A. Tatum, we understand that every person and family are different, which means we take the time to learn exactly which tools will help you meet your goals. Whether you have concerns about ensuring your minor children are taken care of or want to protect your assets, we can help.
When creating an estate plan, you have a number of decisions to make. For example, you will need to indicate who will receive various aspects of your estate, real property, assets, and belongings when you pass away. Creating an estate plan gives you the opportunity to be in control of what happens to your belongings and your loved ones. We can help you establish a power of attorney, trusts, a will, and a health care proxy. Depending on your needs, your estate plan may include some or all of these tools.
According to Investopedia:
“Estate planning is the preparation of tasks that serve to manage an individual’s asset base in the event of their incapacitation or death.”
Usually, you use your estate plan to leave your assets to loved ones, settle your estate taxes, and outline your final wishes. You can also choose an executor to act on your behalf and ensure your loved ones carry out your final requests – from serious medical decisions you cannot make on your own to who will take care of your minor children and pets to your funeral plans.
A complete estate plan might include a will, one or more trust accounts, and various instructions for your loved ones.
Also called a “last will and testament,” a will is a legal document that expresses your final wishes regarding the distribution of your property, as well as the care of any minor children and pets you may have. The best will is written, signed, witnessed, and kept in a safe, easy-to-find location. You should write your will in good health and while you are “of sound mind” to avoid legal challenges.
Many people leave copies of their wills with their estate planning attorney. A good estate planning lawyer can help make sure your will is legally binding and carried out correctly in the event of your death.
If you do not have a will, judges or state officials will decide what happens to your property, and your loved ones may have to deal with questions and conflicts when arranging your affairs. That being said, wills do not take care of all your final wishes – you cannot put conditions on your gifts, leave property to pets, plan your funeral, or make special arrangements for money or property using a will.
A trust is a relationship in which a trustor (you) gives a trustee the right to property and assets on behalf of a beneficiary. If you want to leave behind money with conditions, you will need to establish a trust, usually with the help of an estate planning attorney like The Law Office of Polly A. Tatum.
Establishing a trust can help you reduce estate taxes, give conditional gifts, and allow your loved ones to have a steady, controlled stream of funds after your death. Your trustee will bestow assets and properties on your beneficiaries according to the wishes you expressed while outlining your trust.
You can create a living trust or a testamentary trust, and your trust can be revocable or irrevocable, depending on your preferences.
Our firm can help you choose the trusts that work best for you and your beneficiaries.
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I help people protect what they care about most. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, special needs planning — whatever your specific situation needs, I can help.
As with most things in life, the more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.
Whether you already have an estate plan in place that needs to be updated, or you are just beginning to think about your needs, you have come to the right place.
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As we mentioned earlier, your estate plan can also help you make your final arrangements and prepare for the event of your incapacitation. When creating your estate plan, you can give someone power of attorney and establish advance directives. If you give someone power of attorney, they will be able to act and make decisions on your behalf. Meanwhile, advance directives let family members and medical professionals know which treatments you wish to accept or refuse. For example, if you don’t want to be put on life support, you can communicate this wish in your advance directive.
Estate planning is extremely important for you but even more so for your loved ones. Your passing will be less difficult for them if they know how to best honor your wishes and your memory.
Preparing for your future can be overwhelming and many families make the mistake of putting these decisions off. However, severe injury and death can come about unexpectedly. It is better to put an estate plan in place now rather than waiting until it is too late and not having control over what happens to your loved ones or property. At The Law Office of Polly A. Tatum, we work with you to help you gain peace of mind in your choices. Our Worcester estate planning attorney can help you carefully prepare for your future.
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