Estate Planning is an essential part of life for clients to retain control of their possessions, including, but not limited to, investment accounts, bank accounts and real estate property while living, and to have these assets distributed according to their wishes upon their death.
A solid estate plan is important for every family and individual to have and should include:
- A Last Will and Testament, which instructs your executor as to how you want your assets distributed after your death;
- A Power of Attorney which will allow the person you designate to step into your shoes in the case of incapacity and for other reasons, and to make financial decisions for you if you become unable to do so;
- A Living Will which will allow the person you designate to present your wishes to your medical personnel regarding your desire to be kept alive by artificial means in the case of permanent unconsciousness or vegetative state without hope of recovery.
- A quitclaim deed, which deeds real estate over to your spouse or child(ren) in the event of your death but gives you a "life estate" in the property
After the occurrence of any major life events, family members should reexamine their Estate Planning documents such as after a marriage; after a divorce; after the birth of a child; development of serious medical problems of a family member; in the event of a serious injury; and after retirement. A good rule is to do so every 5 years.