According to the authors of Love, Money, Control: Reinventing Estate Planning, estate planning is “the process of planning for the management and disposition of your assets when you are deceased…or…no longer able to manage your affairs.” Estate planning is far more involved than dealing with taxes. It’s really about accomplishing your goals during your lifetime and beyond.
So…what documents do you need in order to ensure that your plan is in order? Here are four that will help you maintain control of your wealth while protecting your privacy and decision-making:
Living Trust – This document outlines your wishes for the management of your assets during your lifetime…as well as for their distribution upon your death. Please refer to our March 17th Wealth Matters Blog, A Living Trust: Is It Right for You?, for more information. NOTE: For many individuals, a traditional will can be a suitable alternative.
Power of Attorney – This document specifies who you want to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event of your disability. Typically, it is most valuable for exercising control over non-trust assets such as a Rollover IRA.
Power of Attorney for Healthcare: Who would you like to make health-related decisions for you in the event that you cannot? This document identifies that individual. Don’t overlook this one!
Pour-Over Will – Think of this as a special type of will, one that is designed to handle assets that you either forgot to re-title into the name of your living trust…or…deliberately excluded from that trust on advice of legal counsel.
These documents, in and of themselves, will not create tax benefits or disadvantages, but they will help ensure that your assets are properly used for your and your family’s benefit.
If your plan is old, or if you don’t have one in place, call an estate-planning attorney today. The Greater Madison Area community has many!