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Get An Estate Plan Now. If You Have One Already, Review It.

Make things easier for the people you love.

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to congratulate the Celtics as NBA World Champions.  That same day, the House passed a bill declaring that the third week of October would be National Estate Planning Awareness Week, recognizing that half of the country does not have an estate plan.

An estate plan specifies how you want your assets distributed after death and identifies people to distribute your assets after your death and make decisions for you if you become incapacitated.  Estate plans protect you in the event of sickness, accidents and unexpected death so the assets you have worked so hard to earn benefit your loved ones.  Estate plans help you save time and money by avoiding probate, the complex court process that is required to retitle assets from a decedent to his or her heirs, and making your intentions clear.

Estate plans also include your choice of trusted people to make your financial and health decisions and to care for your children if you cannot.  70% of parents have not created a Will naming their children’s caretakers in the event of their deaths.

If you die without an estate plan, each state has a default law that dictates who receives your assets, and a court decides who handles the administration of your estate and who serves as guardian of your minor children.  Estate plans ensure that you and not the courts will make these decisions.

Below is a list of important documents that make up a typical estate plan.

  • Will
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxy
  • HIPAA Authorization
  • Living Will
  • Declaration of Homestead

Even if you have an estate plan in place, review and update your documents every few years to make sure that your documents will work in light of changes in the law and changes in your life and that the people you have appointed are still appropriate.

October, 2018

© 2018 Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC