- Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Directives
- Community Property Agreements
- Tax/gift planning
- Business Succession Planning
Our biggest focus at Myers Harbor Law is working with clients to achieve their estate planning goals. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other similar planning documents are the most common ways to plan an estate, but each individual circumstance can call for different planning instruments.
While planning for the future can be a daunting task, it is an important one. Preparing an estate plan is something that people tend to avoid for many reasons, but the benefits of being prepared shouldn’t be overlooked. Planning beforehand can often save money in the long run, prevent conflict, and ease the burden on grieving family or friends.
Estate planning can take many forms, from the basic to the complex. Determining what kind of estate planning is right for you is an important first step. This involves getting to know a little bit about you and your family, what sort of assets you own, and what your goals are. The “standard” estate plan offered at Myers Harbor Law is a collection of documents that is generally recommended to most people. While the documents included are considered standard, the contents of those documents can be drastically different for each individual.
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan is a collection of documents or planning decisions that will determine where assets go at your death and how financial and health decisions will be made if you are incapacitated or disabled and cannot make the decisions on your own.
The thing that most people think of first when considering estate planning is the Last Will and Testament. A Will addresses property distribution at death, appointment of legal representatives, and how your estate should be administered.
Along with a will, a standard estate plan addresses the key issue of who takes care of you if you are sick or disabled. If you are unable to make financial or health decisions for yourself, a Durable Power of Attorney can designate a legal representative to make decisions on your behalf.
Other documents that are often included in estate plans include community property agreements for married couples, health care directives, tangible personal property memorandums for distributing personal property without amending your Will, and a description of your burial/funeral wishes.
Trusts are generally not included in our standard estate plans, but in more complex estates or certain situations that arise, trusts can be very useful instruments in an estate plan. Because of the unique nature of trusts, adding a trust document to your estate plan will usually be billed at an hourly rate.
At Myers Harbor Law, each estate plan is carefully drafted and tailored to the individual client to accomplish two things: provide an estate plan that addresses current planning goals of our client, and discover potential future issues that may arise and plan for them before they become a problem.
What do I need to start planning my estate?
If you are looking to create an estate plan in the near future I encourage you to download and print the Estate Planning Questionnaire by clicking the link below. Filling this out helps paint a better picture of your assets and greatly assists in creating your estate plan. If nothing else, the questionnaire will at least get you thinking about questions that every good Will needs to answer!