Estate Planning

Estate Planning is a lot more than just preparing a Will or a Trust.  The typical estate plan would include a Will, but should also include a Durable Power of Attorney, a Living Will Declaration and a Health Care Surrogate document.  In many cases, with appropriate planning, the entire estate may pass to the heirs or beneficiaries without any probate or trust proceedings.  Assets may be titled in a manner that will designate which beneficiaries will receive the assets in the event of death, and a Lady Byrd Deed may be utilized to transfer the title to the home property upon death.  When the estate exceeds the amount that can be given away without incurring estate taxes, additional planning will be required.  If distributions to the desired beneficiaries are complicated, a Revocable Living Trust may be advisable.  An additional Estate Planning document that may be important in the event of a second marriage later in life is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, to assure that each spouse’s assets go to the desired beneficiaries.  During your lifetime, in the event of incapacity, a Durable Power of Attorney or Revocable Living Trust will make a court guardianship unnecessary, and a Living Will Declaration will let everyone know if it is your desire not to be kept alive on machines if two doctors agree that there is no chance of recovery from a serious illness.