Proper will and estate planning is one of the most important gifts you can make to your family and loved ones. For most people a simple will is sufficient. It should contain the following elements:
- Your name and the fact that you intend the document to be a will
- A burial statement (normal burial, cremation, or anatomy board donation)
- Tax payment directions
- Residual "catch all" clause (who gets what's left?)
- Personal Representative (Executor)
- General powers for Personal Representative (Executor)
- Signature and date
If you have minor children you need to designate guardians for them and you should also make special provisions to cover the period of their minority. Ideally, this will be a simple trust. If you have one or more disabled children, there are ways you can provide for them and still protect your assets from the state.
In addition to the will, most people should have a Healthcare Power of Appointment (also referred to as an advanced directive or living will) which establishes your feelings and desires regarding extended life support and allows you to determine who will make these important decisions when you are no longer able to do so.
Also, a power of attorney is extremely useful. The Durable General Power of Attorney gives someone you trust full authority over your personal assets for the remainder of your life. This is important should you suffer some sort of trauma, either mental or physical, which leaves you unable to manage your own affairs.
With the ever-changing landscape of federal and state estate tax law, those with estates that exceed One Million ($1,000,000.00) Dollars need to examine their exposure to these potentially confiscatory taxes. Gifts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, marital trust wills and revocable living trusts are just a few ways this problem can be addressed.
For a free initial consultation, please contact me