Introduction to Estate Planning
In our work administering estates of lost loved ones and drafting documents to support estate plans, we recognize that, in addition to preparing documents to support the estate plan, we must investigate the types of assets that make up the taxable estate, review relevant documents governing those assets, coordinate beneficiary designations, and sometimes recommend changes in the style of ownership on assets. The questions that follow are some we see often in our practice.
Who needs Estate Planning?
If you are over the age of 18 and of sound mind, you should have an estate plan in place. You are especially encouraged to put an estate plan in place if any of the following are applicable to you:
- Have minor or special needs children or a spouse with special needs;
- Are married and have a net worth (including the face value of life insurance) of more than $1 million;
- Have a blended family; and/or
- Own a business. For most people, estate planning involves the preparation of a will, durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and physician’s directive, a declaration of guardian, and an appointment of agent to control the disposition of remains.