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Every family is unique, so shouldn't your estate plan be too? We believe that plans should reflect the distinctive needs of your family. We can help in several ways to make sure you and your family are protected as things in your life change.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Our firm can help you create a customized Last Will and Testament to ensure your wishes are carried out - no matter how simple or complex. Creating a Last Will and Testament is the foundation of any estate plan. We will help you make sure that you are naming the right person to be in charge of your estate (executor), that you are distributing assets to your beneficiaries in a way that reflects your wishes and that your Last Will and Testament is executed properly so that your wishes are legally binding. If you have minor children, creating a Last Will and Testament is an essential step to protect your children as you will appoint legal guardians to raise your children if something happens to you.
Many families want to know how they can avoid probate for their families. One way to accomplish this is to create a trust. We can help you create this trust agreement by making sure your family's unique needs are addressed. Not only can you avoid probate - and the costs associated with it - but assets will get your beneficiaries a lot quicker and will be kept private. If you have beneficiaries that may not be able to handle outright gifts under your estate plan, or if you have assets that you would like to have more control over than normal (ex. life insurance and retirement accounts), using a trust will allow you to be creative and protect the assets that you are leaving to your children, spouse and other beneficiaries. You might want to consider a trust if:
You have a blended family and want to make sure children inherit what you want them to (and not accidentally disinheriting them by not planning properly)
You have special needs beneficiaries and need to create a trust to protect them and their eligibility for federal need-based benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid
You want to protect your minor children or beneficiaries and determine how and when they would receive anything under your estate plan
You want clear rules on how money should be used for the benefit of your minor children
You want rules in place to protect your children if your surviving spouse gets remarried after you pass away
You have property in more than one state and want to make sure that probate is not required for the transfer of that property to your heirs
You are a small business owner and want to ensure your business assets pass down to your family with ease
Your are concerned about estate taxes and want a plan that can minimize or reduce them
You want to ensure you or your loved ones have the opportunity to receive the benefits needed should the need for long-term care occur
You have unique planning needs - single, widowed and unmarried couples
You want to provide for your pet after something happens to you
POWER OF ATTORNEY
There is a huge misconception about what estate planning really is, and people often miss the most important (and likely) cause of us relying on your estate plan. Your estate plan should also tell us what happens if you become sick, incapacitated or incompetent. Who is going to be in charge of your legal and financial life? Every estate plan should include a durable financial power of attorney naming someone to manage your financial and legal affairs if you cannot.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVE FOR HEALTH CARE
Once you have made some decisions about what will happen to your stuff and who will be in charge, it's now time to make sure your healthcare wishes are clear if you are unable to communicate your preferences. This advance directive for healthcare will let us know what your end of life decisions are - how long you would want to be on life support, do you want to be an organ donor, do you want to donate your body to science? Not having this document and properly addressing your wishes might leave these important decisions up to your family members, or even worse, the court system.
Important: Your health care directive only deals with end-of-life issues. Our firm also helps you create a plan so we know how you want to be treated if you are unable to communicate your wishes. If you were diagnosed with a condition that left you unable to communicate, how often would you like to go outside, visit family, get your hair cut, etc.? It's important that we memorialize these preferences so that your family and potential caretakers have guidance on what's important to you if you couldn't communicate those preferences.
READY TO GET STARTED?
If you are ready to learn more, you're invited to attend one of our free workshops. You will learn everything you need to know to get started and protect your family. If you're family is in crisis, please contact us at (404) 267-1377 and we will be happy to assist you.
The most loving thing you can do for your family is to make sure they are prepared for life without you.
- Stephanie Anderson, Esq.
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