We get many calls from people that want to set up their estate planning but they are not too sure where to start or what documents they need. Here we set out the basics of our three most common estate planning documents:
1. What is a Will?
The most common estate planning document is a Will. This document sets out what your wishes are upon your death, including appointing your executor(s), guardians for your children, who you wish to benefit with the assets of your estate, and your funeral wishes. They can also include trusts for any minors you wish to benefit or for beneficiaries with disabilities, to protect their government benefits.
2. What is a Power of Attorney?
This document will appoint the person or people that you trust as your attorney(s) to handle your financial and legal affairs while you are living, should you become incapable of handling these affairs yourself due to mental or physical incapacity. You will be able to choose what powers your Attorney(s) may exercise including, gifting, use of property, transfer of real estate etc. Your Attorney can then handle your day to day banking, pay bills, sell real property, give investment instructions, etc. in your place. Your Attorney has a duty to act in your best interest at all times.
3. What is a Representaton Agreement?
This document will appoint the person or people that you trust to make your health and personal care decisions, should you become incapable of doing so while you are living. This document also has provisions in it that are sometimes referred to as a living will, which set out your wishes in the event of an emergency (ie. to pull the plug or to be kept alive by artificial means). It takes the burden of making these difficult health decisions from your family members and sets out your wishes clearly for them should you be incapable of expressing your wishes at the time those important health care decisions need to be made.
Starting the process now does not have to be overwhelming, you can click on the link “Become a Client”. On this page you will find questionnaires beneath the heading “Estate Planning”, which you can review, complete and return to our office all from the comfort of home. If you have questions regarding the questionnaires, please feel free to contact our estate planning team at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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