Planning your estate is one of the biggest steps you can take to safeguard the future of your loved ones. Even though a last will and testament can succeed in transferring assets to heirs and beneficiaries, they are not able to avoid issues found in probate, estate taxes, or protect your interests if you become incapacitated.
Estate Planning Advantages
Estate planning carries several advantages that a will simply cannot provide. One of the biggest advantages is being able to provide for your immediate family when you pass away. When drafted properly, your estate plan will be able to provide enough resources for your surviving spouse to care for your family. If both you and your spouse pass, the estate plan also has the ability to protect your child(ren).
Not only do estate plans make sure your assets go to the right places, but it also can help minimizes expenses and eliminate the cost of transferring assets to the proper beneficiaries.
It can be difficult to plan a funeral, and an estate plan can help ease that burden by making funeral arrangements, and even setting aside funds for them.
Sudden incapacity is one circumstance that no one is mentally prepared for, but you can be financially prepared. With powers of attorney, you are able to maintain your healthcare and financial interests even when you are unable to make the decisions yourself.
Trusts and Wills
Trusts and wills are documents that allow you to safeguard and manage your assets before and after you pass away.
Wills are also referred to as a “last will and testament” or “pour over wills” and are used simply to decide what happens to your property when you pass away. Although wills are fairly easy to draft, they do have several shortcomings, including being subject to probate. Wills are also public documents, which can lead to disputes among family members if they believe they were unfairly omitted from the will.
Trusts, on the other hand, have many of the same capabilities as wills with additional advantages. Trusts can only be created by appointing a trustee that can administrate any assets you place into the trust. The biggest advantage of trusts is that they are able to be made revocable, meaning you are able to amend the terms of the trust at any point in your life.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney come into place when you become suddenly incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. Powers of attorney can help make important medical decisions, pay taxes, and other financial decisions:
There are four types of powers of attorney:
- General Power of Attorney: Where your attorney can perform almost any action as the principal, such as opening financial accounts and managing personal finances. It is terminated when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the power of attorney, or passes away.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This holds the same abilities ad general power of attorney, but stays intact even when the principal is incapacitated.
- Limited Power of Attorney: When your attorney has limited ability to perform actions on the principal's behalf.
- Springing Durable Power of Attorney: This power of attorney only goes into effect when a specific event occurs or if the principal becomes suddenly incapacitated.
Contact Our Lancaster Estate Planning Team Today
Preparing for the future can be a daunting and stressful task. With over 90 years of combined legal experience, we are uniquely equipped to help you with compassionate and personalized services.
If you would like to start your estate plan or have questions about where to start, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (661) 426-2499 to schedule a consultation!