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Estate Planning for the What Ifs

The official start of summer is right around the corner. As the weather heats up families head to the highways to begin their long anticipated summer vacations. Families are going to enjoy horseback riding, river rafting, hiking, and other various fun filled activities. During these care free, relaxing times no one wants to think about the dreaded “what ifs.”

However, it is important to think of the “what ifs” before you head out on that well deserved vacation. What if there is an accident and you are not able to make decisions concerning your physical welfare or finances? What if there is an accident and you perish leaving your loved ones to sort out your finances and last wishes? Creating a Last Will & Testament, Powers of Attorney, Transfer on Death Deeds, Living Wills, and Trusts are the necessary steps to plan for the “what ifs.”

A Last Will & Testament is a person’s opportunity to put into writing how and to whom they wish their real and personal property to be distributed upon their death. If someone passes without a Will, the State’s laws determine who will inherit and how much. A Will also gives parents or guardians the opportunity to inform the court who they believe is a suitable guardian for their minor children or ward. Trust language for certain beneficiaries can be inserted into the Will so those individuals receive their inheritances at the age you believe is appropriate. The benefits of a Will are numerous and should be discussed with an attorney.

Next we will briefly review the benefits of the other estate planning documents every individual should consider.