There’s more to estate planning than you might think. To a lot of people, estate planning is all about putting a will in place, ensuring your assets are properly distributed to beneficiaries upon your death. But that’s by no means a comprehensive view of the estate planning process. It’s important to take a truly holistic view, which often means having a living will, trust, and power of attorney.
Putting together a truly robust estate plan may require you to work with a firm of living trust and wills lawyers; in this post, we’ll explain why.
First, let’s consider why a will, however important, is ultimately insufficient.
A will is all about clarifying how you’d like your assets to be distributed upon your death. While every estate plan should include a will, it’s not always going to be enough to keep your assets out of probate. And, it doesn’t tackle questions about your end-of-life care, or how you’d like to be treated should you ever become medically incapacitated.
For those things, it’s critical to consult with a team of living trust and will lawyers, who can augment your will with other crucial documents.
Let’s focus on three particular documents you should discuss with your will and trust attorney.
What happens if accident or injury ever leaves you unable to speak for yourself, or to give informed consent on medical treatment? For example, what happens if you are in a temporary coma or a persistent vegetative state?
A living will is a legal document in which you can clearly outline your wishes, ensuring that both your medical providers and your loved ones have clarity about what kind of life support services you do and do not want in these scary situations.
Another document to ask about is a trust. While trusts are mistakenly associated with high affluence, we’d actually recommend them to just about anyone, and for a simple reason: Putting your assets into a trust can help you avoid probate court and also minimize your tax burden.
However, you’ll need to work with an attorney who can help you both develop the trust and also manage it. And, you’ll want to seek guidance on selecting the right person to serve as your trustee.
Power of Attorney
One more consideration is incorporating a power of attorney into your estate plan. Specifically, you might consider both a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney.
A medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint a representative to make healthcare decisions for you, should you ever become medically incapacitated or unresponsive.
A financial power of attorney works similarly; it is a document that allows you to appoint a legal representative to make financial and business decisions for you, should you ever become medically incapacitated or unresponsive.
Both can be essential for protecting yourself against uncertainty and asserting your wishes even when you cannot physically speak. They can also provide some peace of mind for your family members.
The bottom line: Estate planning can be complex, and it’s always important to seek the right legal guidance.
If you have questions about living wills, trusts, or powers of attorney, or if you’re ready to speak about the specifics of your estate plan, reach out to Singh Law Firm.
Our attorneys are standing by to consult with you on all of your estate planning needs. Contact us today to speak with a living trust attorney.