Estate Planning is the process of planning what a person wants to happen if they are incapacitated or upon their death. It can be fairly simple or it can be extremely complex depending on the needs of the client and the type and amount of assets involved. For most people, it is to assure their spouse and children are taken care of.
What is usually involved in a typical Estate Plan? The typical estate plan will usually consist of a will, possibly a trust, General Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will. There are some other miscellaneous documents that are sometimes involved such as HIPPA release, Organ Donation Form, and Disposal of Last Remains.
What is a will? A will is a written document that sets forth a person’s wishes as to what they want to happen with their assets after their death. It should also contain the name or names of who will act as the Executor, or as we now call them Personal Representative. This is the person who is in charge of carrying out your wishes. It also would typically name the person or persons you want to be Guardian for your minor children and if you have minor children it would also typically name a Trustee to handle their financial affairs until they reach whatever age you think is appropriate.
What does the typical Personal Representative or Executor do? Their job is to collect the assets, pay the bills, file any tax returns that are required and then turn the remaining assets over to whoever is entitled to them.