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Introduction to Estate Planning
Estate Planning is something every adult American can benefit from, if done right. You don’t need to own real estate worth millions of dollars or greying hair to qualify. In the real world, the earlier you start, the better. You can always modify or expand your estate plan, as your financial status, family structure, and other personal preferences change. Death is unpredictable and you don’t want your family to suffer in the aftermath of your demise. Proper estate planning keeps your assets in the right hands and guarantees transmission to the rightful heirs.
Estate Planning Attorney in Denver, CO, claims that comprehensive estate planning is a small price to protect the future of your kith and kin. The four pillars of estate planning are:
1. Living Trust
More and more people in the U.S. are adding a living trust to their estate plan, owing to its major advantages. The topmost reason for establishing a revocable living trust is the exemption of probate. When a person dies, the probate court will take over his/her assets. Probate is a time consuming process and costs a good deal of money. Inheritors may have to wait months to years, and bear heavy expenses in order to retrieve your legacy. A living trust speeds up the process by transferring direct power to a successor and avoiding any interference from court.
The successor of your living trust is eligible to manage all assets under the trust, in case you become ill/incapacitated or die. He/she may duly distribute the trust assets among nominated beneficiaries as per your instructions. The added benefit is that your asset information remains private and no third party can cause intrusions.
2. Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney
If a time comes when you fall into a coma or vegetative state, your living will can assure that things are handled the way you would prefer. Immediate family tends to get extremely troubled and tentative on such occasions. Conflicts arise when part of the family is ready to let go, but the remaining are still hopeful for your recovery. Through a living will, you can help your loved ones make the right decision; you can opt for an artificial life support system to keep you alive or choose to pull the plug on an unproductive life. An accident or old age may lead to a terminal illness or some kind of disability. The healthcare power of attorney lets you designate a person who shall be responsible to take medical decisions on your behalf.
3. Financial Power of Attorney
Assigning the financial power of attorney to a person allows him/her to make financial decisions in your place; you may limit this authority by establishing terms and conditions. You can grant the power while you are entirely healthy and conscious or restrict it to unusual situations. The successor for financial power of attorney may come into effect after an occurrence that leaves you mentally or physically incompetent to fulfill duties.
4. Last Will and Testament
last will and testament has high emotional value and is equally significant in
the eyes of law. It is the ultimatum to all your assets and can be used to
convey a last message to the special people in your life. It determines what
will happen to your property, business, and underage children while you are no
longer available to look after them. Lack of a will leads to massive
intervention by court and your family shall face a hard time recovering your