Comprehensive estate planning covers nearly every aspect of life. It begins with protecting yourself and your personal dignity, and extends to protecting your loved ones and your hard-earned assets.
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A living trust, also referred to as a revocable living trust, is a flexible and widely used estate planning tool. A revocable living trust is a written agreement that appoints a trustee to manage the property held by the trust. Trusts generally avoid the probate court altogether.
Learn more about revocable living trusts.
A will, or “Last Will and Testament,” is your last word to the court for instructions on the handling of your property and affairs. A will’s instructions are limited to those assets and matters under the jurisdiction of the probate court.
Learn more about Last Will & Testament.
When a person dies they almost always leave behind property and debts. Every state legislature created a court supervised process to transfer title to property from a deceased person to their heirs or beneficiaries under a valid will or Last Will and Testament. A court will supervise the transfer of a deceased person’s property after the payment of their debts. That court supervised process is called probate.
Learn more about probate.
A trust, or revocable living trust, is a commonly used legal tool for estate planning. Personal property and real estate are owned by the trust and the individual who created the trust. The person who is responsible for managing those assets upon the death of the trust’s creator, and ultimately distributing the assets to the beneficiaries, is called the successor trustee.
Learn more about trust administration.
Guardianships are a method of obtaining legal custody of, or decision-making authority over another person. People use guardianships for different reasons. A guardian has authority to make medical decisions and housing decisions, including placing a loved one in a medical facility. Military parents that are deployed may have a need for a guardianship as well. Some of the most common guardianships are minor child guardianship and adult guardianships.
Learn more about guardianship and conservatorships.
A basic estate plan is a set of documents that includes a will, possibly a revocable living trust, and ancillary documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Directive, HIPAA Release, and more. These legal tools help individuals and couples plan for and deal with illness, incapacity, and death. Moreover, these legal tools play an important role in reducing estate taxes, providing for the smooth transition of a business, and supporting minor children.
Learn more about advanced estate planning.
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