Insightful Guidance Throughout The Estate Planning Process
The Fabulous 4
- Last Will & Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Directives
Other Common Estate Planning Issues
- Have you made a Will to put your wishes in writing?
- Do you have Powers of Attorney in place if something happens to you?
- Have you named a proxy to make medical decisions?
- Would your family know your end-of-life wishes?
- Who would become guardians of your children?
Life is complicated, and things often change in the blink of an eye. That’s why it is so important to develop and review your estate plan as circumstances change. When you are planning for the future, Stefans Law Group PC is here to help.
While working with our Long Island-based team of lawyers and experts, our clients get access to a wide variety of options for long-term planning as well as knowledgeable guidance from a team of compassionate advisers who help them make sound and well-informed decisions for their and their family’s future.
Why You Need An Estate Plan
Do you have dependent children or elderly parents? What about retirement savings, a home or investments? The overall goal of estate planning is to maximize your assets and benefits during your lifetime, to provide for the management of those assets if you become incapacitated or disabled, and to swiftly transfer your assets to your named beneficiaries after death.
A well-executed estate plan helps protect your family and property in the event something happens to you. While some people shy away from the process, estate planning can actually be a very positive and fulfilling experience. You can focus on those you care about most and take steps to ensure their future happiness and prosperity.
The Fabulous 4
The most important documents included in an estate plan:
• Last Will & Testament – Your will provides for the specific distribution of your property, names an executor to administer your estate according to the terms you’ve set forth, and appoints a guardian for your minor children in the event you pass away before they reach maturity (age 18).
• Durable Power of Attorney – Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that gives another person the authority to manage your property and/or finances in your absence. It is only valid during your lifetime, and you get to determine the scope, duration and circumstances under which it is valid. The POA is usually invoked when a person is unable to manage their own affairs or when they cannot be present to sign documents or execute transactions.
• Medical Directives – This is usually comprised of two documents. The first is a Living Will, also known as an advance directive. A Living Will outlines your wishes related to specific health care treatments and options, such as life support and end-of-life care. It takes effect if and when you become unable to make decisions about your health care due to illness or incapacity. If there is an instruction in the Living Will, it will be followed. The second document is a Health Care Proxy. This selects someone to either effectuate the directions you made in your Living Will or make decisions about your treatment and health care if you cannot do so yourself or did not execute a Living Will.
• Trusts – This document creates an independent entity, managed by either the creator or other named fiduciaries (aka trustees). The trust avoids probate, streamlines liens, including Medicaid long-term care protection. The creator essentially retitles his or her assets when they are transferred to the Trust. The Trust survives the creator’s death, and then, the assets pass to the named beneficiaries.
Depending on your specific needs and wants, revocable and irrevocable trusts are often used in conjunction to accomplish estate planning goals. Our attorneys are well-versed in different types of trusts for specific purposes such as preserving family wealth or putting stipulations on inheritance.
Comprehensive Guidance To Get Your Affairs In Order
An attorney from Stefans Law Group can sit down with you to answer all your questions and conduct an assessment of your estate and family dynamics. We will give you detailed information in plain English on the various estate planning tools and how to customize them to reflect your goals and wishes.