Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Estate Planning: What is it & Who Needs It?

Death and taxes. You can't avoid either one, but you can plan for them. So what is estate planning, anyway? The plan for what you have, what you want, and where it all will go. Even if you don't own the Taj Mahal, you need a will. A will is your treasure map, describing your property, identifying the people that you care about, and leaving your property to those people.

Without a will, your property will be left to your closest living relatives. Maybe they are the people you wanted to have your things, or maybe not. Without a will, the courts use the law to 'guesstimate' where you might have wanted the estate to go. Your estate may consist of a house, stocks and a 401(k) or just a TV set, your TV tray and your DVD collection. Whatever it is that you have, that's your estate.

Ancillary estate planning documents are good to have. Consider: a Living Will, a HIPPA Release, a Declaration of Guardian in Advance of Need (for your minor kids, or for yourself if you ever become incapacitated), a Durable Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney, and/or Burial Instructions. Some documents are good to have now while you may need others, later.

We can't cheat death or taxes. But we can plan for more of what we want when we want it. And, we can take the burden off of our survivors by telling them what we want in writing and then filing it away. Choose to do your estate planning on a beautiful day, when you don't have a care in the world, and the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Do your relatives a favor and give yourself peace of mind.


About Lisa C Smith

Attorney Lisa C. Smith believes that many legal problems can be resolved by working out agreements, legal documents, and creative solutions for businesses and families. Her goal is to provide quality legal representation with personal service and respect.

Read more at Lisa C. Smith's website.

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