Estate Planning

Regardless of the size of your estate, you have worked very hard to acquire it. You have worked equally hard to provide and care for your loved ones. The goal of any estate plan is to ensure that the fruits of your labors are passed to those you love the most.

Without an estate plan, your estate will be distributed according to a statutory scheme, often referred to as the laws of intestate succession. While the scheme gives top priority to your immediate family, it may not reflect your wishes. Your goals are unimportant and will not be considered if not expressed in an estate plan.

In some cases, an Estate Plan may be very simply and require nothing more than taking a few simple steps to ensure that your major assets—such as homes, automobiles, accounts in financial institutions—are titled in such a way that they will pass to your intended beneficiaries without the need for a formal court proceeding, such as Probate.

You may need a Will, which allows you to direct who will receive your assets at the time of your death. Depending on the value and complexity of your estate and the ages and capacity of your beneficiaries, you may require additional legal instruments to accomplish your goals.

A Living or Revocable Trust may be the most useful and cost-effective instrument to accomplish your plan because it permits you to control your assets during your lifetime, provides for the smooth transition of your assets from you to your loved ones after death, and avoids Probate for your heirs at the time of your passing.

A Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney can help make your estate plan complete. A Living Will allows you to make end-of-life decisions in advance. A Health Care Power of Attorney and Mental Health Care Power of Attorney permit you to authorize another person make health care decisions on your behalf and consistent with your wishes.