Having a current and proper estate plan in place is step one in making sure that your loved ones will not have the distraction and additional heartbreak that can follow when death occurs without a plan in place. Effective estate planning is, however, as much about lifetime planning as it is about taking care of your estate after death. For example, planning for incapacity and higher income tax rates are two areas of consideration. We help families with “simple” estates and those needing more involved planning for special needs or gift planning.
We work with our clients’ financial adviser, insurance agent, and sometimes their CPA in crafting their plan. A “complete plan” for our clients brings together the following: 1) estate planning for property transfers at death, 2) income tax planning, 3) disability planning, 4) asset protection, and sometimes 5) business succession planning.
A Durable Power of Attorney is one basic tool that can serve well in the event of incapacity. A Revocable Living Trust is another tool that some clients may chose to give them more flexibility in their estate plan. Some clients, especially professionals and business owners, will want to consider asset protection planning as part of their estate plan.
For many individuals and couples, a Last Will and Testament is the primary document of an estate plan. Of course, a Will only addresses what happens to your probate property at your death.