Creating a will or trust is a way to ensure your assets are properly distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries upon your death. They also safeguard you and your family from costly litigation due to the lack of such instrument. Wills and trusts can be used to name a personal representative of your estate who will be responsible for insuring your final wishes are honored by administering your estate.
Financial powers of attorney help to safeguard your money in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs. Health care powers of attorney name an agent who will be responsible for acting upon your behalf in the event you are unable to make decisions regarding your personal health care. A living will expresses your wishes regarding end of life planning and generally makes it easier upon your agent in the event that you are unable to survive without life-sustaining care.
Estate planning for both large and small estates is vital to avoid the possibility of probate. With careful estate and income tax planning, over $5 million in estate taxes can be saved upon your death. There are a variety of trust instruments that can be drafted to achieve this goal. Through the use of non-probate transfers and life insurance policies, among other things, your assets will be protected once combined with a proper trust.