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What makes up an Estate Plan?

Think estate plans are just for the wealthy?

The fact is, just about anyone with a home and a family can benefit from sophisticated estate planning. A well-crafted estate plan can do a lot for you and your family when it matters most. In fact, a modern estate plan is not just about death. It also deals with critical decisions while you’re alive.

So what does a modern estate plan consist of? There are five key elements:

  • A trust
  • A will
  • A power of attorney
  • A healthcare proxy
  • And a living will

Let’s start with the will. While most estate plans include a will, It does have limitations.

When a person passes away and only has a will in place, their appointed executor—usually a family member—must hire an attorney and submit the will to probate court. The court process can be time-consuming, frustrating,
And expensive. By using a trust, the court process can be avoided altogether.

You appoint yourself as the initial trustee and during your life, you transfer your assets into the trust.  As the trustee, you control everything—including the decision of who will take over as trustee upon your death. When that occurs, your successor trustee doesn’t need the court’s permission for anything. They simply follow your instructions for distributing your assets.

So about the will? It becomes what we call a “pour-over” will. And it’s only used in the unlikely event that something has not been put into the trust. For example, say you inherit something shortly before your own passing. Your will serves to add—or “pour”—that inheritance into your trust. So the trust and the will work together to ensure your property passes to your heirs with minimum delay and hassle.

For more information on how we can prepare your high-quality
estate plan, please click the button below or call (603) 606-2631.

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