The (Beckley WV) Register-Herald’s recent article, “Important Medical and Financial Choices,” notes that along with a will, there are medical, financial, and other important decisions that come into play in estate planning.
There’s often confusion between the similar sounding Living Will and Living Trust. The first is for medical purposes, and the second is for financial needs.
A Living Will (also called an Advanced Health Care Directive) provides a trusted friend or relative with the authority to make decisions regarding certain last medical measures, when you’re in a terminal condition. This has nothing to do with transferring assets or property after death.
A Living (or Revocable) Trust is a financial vehicle that provides for the after-death transfer of ownership of trust assets like a will, but has lifetime and after-death control of the trust’s assets by a trustee.
Another important estate planning document is a power of attorney (POA). This document gives an agent the authority to make financial decisions under the specifically stated conditions.
Lastly, but in many cases the most important, is a guardian nomination for your minor children. Parents often want to name guardians who will raise their children should something happen to them.
These documents make certain that someone you trust will always have the power to act on your behalf—this can prevent the need for a court proceeding to secure this authority during a critical time. Estate Planning documents are useful if you become incapacitated and also when you die.
Another item on your list of estate planning documents is the form used to select the beneficiary for your life insurance and retirement funds. Neither is controlled by your will, unless your estate is the beneficiary, which may not always the best option financially. That’s because naming your estate as the beneficiary of your retirement funds can result in additional income taxes being owed due to the short payout period when an estate receives those funds. No one wants their estate to pay extra taxes.
You can now see that although a will controls major aspects of a person’s estate, it’s not the only document that can protect your property and your well-being. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you prepare the necessary documents to protect your loved ones.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about your estate plan, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.For more information and articles on estate planning, probate, and trust law, please visit our website and request our free monthly e-newsletter
Reference: The (Beckley WV) Register-Herald (October 15, 2017) “Important Medical and Financial Choices”