People must do estate planning to ensure that their assets fall in the right hands after their death. Estate planning helps to express your wishes about the distribution of your assets when you are no more by specifying who gets what and in which manner. When you do estate planning, it becomes a legal record of your wishes that start functioning after you pass away and gives you the satisfaction of allocating your assets in the way you want. Some people might look upon estate planning as an exercise for the rich, but the truth is that everyone must do estate planning regardless of their net worth.
Not having a plan about the manner of distribution and utilization of your assets after your death can have far-reaching and costly implications on your loved ones even if you do not have too many valuables, a pricey home, and valuable art and large IRA to pass on. To create an estate plan, you must seek the guidance of a lawyer like the Investment Lawyers & Attorneys – Costello Law Group to ascertain your desires and goals and then put it together in the form of an estate plan. The plan should help to realize your goals and objectives.
How an investment lawyer helps in estate planning
Besides protecting your assets after your death, estate planning also helps to protect your independence during your lifetime that the estate planning lawyer who is also an investment lawyer can guide you. The role of the lawyer is very important to ensure that your plan has legal validity and recognized under the current laws of the state. The plan will ensure that your estate is in order after you pass away so that it can provide your family and the loved ones when you are there no more. The lawyer can help in estate planning that covers the aspects of wills, the formation of trusts, tax planning, estate and probe administration and guardianship as well as estate litigation. The most basic form of estate planning constitutes of wills, power of attorney, advance directives, health care proxy, and a living will.
To have more clarity about the role of investment lawyers in estate planning, you must get familiar with the various aspects of estate planning.
Power of Attorney
When you want some other person to manage your financial affairs, you must issue a legal document to empower that person in handling your finances, and this document is the Power of Attorney. Power of attorney is of two types – general durable power of attorney empowers the person with immediate effect without any condition attached, and the other is the springing type of power of attorney that passes on the power to that person only when you are incapacitated physically or mentally. In the absence of power of attorney, it can be very costly later to initiate the conservatorship process that would also take a long time and prove frustrating in case you become incapacitated any time. Staying prepared with a power of attorney is always a smart move to take care of any eventualities.
If you have heard about the term advance directive, then you should know that it has another name for a living will. The will helps to express the desire of the person executing the document about the use of extraordinary measures in case the person reaches an end-stage of life due to certain medical conditions. The document specifies whether the person intends to avail any medical care or does not want it in a situation when the person is unable to communicate his or her wishes. If the person remains unconscious due to some medical condition doctors and healthcare providers would refer to the living will for determining the permissible actions that they should or should not take for life-sustaining treatment. In the absence of a living will it becomes the responsibility of the spouse, family members, and any other third party to make decisions about the future medical assistance of that person.
Last will and testament
A last will and testament is a legal document by means of which a person can identify the person/s or charities that are to receive his/her property and assets after his or her death. The will helps to prevent the distribution of your property and children under the statues of intestacy of the state. The individuals and charities mentioned in the will are the beneficiaries in the eyes of the law. It is not enough to create a will, but you must also nominate an executor who will ensure proper administration of your estate and the distribution of your property among the beneficiaries as stated in the will.
On the death of the person who creates the will the executor whether an individual or an institution will petition the court for formal appointment as an executor of your estate. After appointment by the court, the executor starts managing the financial affairs of the deceased and ensures proper distribution of property and other assets as stipulated in the will. It is also possible to nominate a guardian for adolescent children within the provisions of the will in case there are any children less than 18 years at the time of the person’s death who would require some guardian to take care of them.
Health care proxy
The health care proxy is a legal document that allows a person to appoint another person to make medical decisions in case they are unable to in the future. The person entrusted with the health care proxy can make decisions regarding the use or non-use of life-sustaining medical measures for medical support that the affected person receives. In case you become incapacitated and need someone else to decide about your health care needs then the health care proxy is the only document that records the wish you had consciously expressed when you were fit enough to do so.
Estate planning helps people to take advance decisions to fulfill their wishes about property, assets, finance, and healthcare when they become incapacitated or pass away.