ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS
Regardless of the stage of life you are in - whether a newlywed, a new parent, recently divorced or otherwise, you need to establish an estate plan. Advance planning allows you to retain the greatest degree of control over your life and your assets. If you neglect to create a Will, appoint a guardian for your minor children, designate a person to care for your finances or execute a healthcare directive, decisions regarding your estate, your children's guardians, your finances and your medical care will be made by the government and the courts, without regard to your personal wishes. An estate plan offers you peace of mind, knowing that your long term needs will be met, that your assets will be protected for the benefit of the person or persons whom you choose and, most importantly, your family will be protected in the event of your incapacity or death. Once incapacity strikes, it is usually too late to implement these mechanisms and your only option is a court proceeding. You can never be too young, be too old, or not have enough assets to put together an estate plan. It is never too early or too late to prepare.
If you already have an estate plan, we recommend that you review your documents periodically to ensure that they continue to meet your goals and comply with changes in the law, and whenever a significant life event occurs (e.g., birth of a child, death of a spouse, divorce, serious illness or purchase of a new home).
Estate planning strategies involve more than just creating a Will. You can plan for the accumulation and handling of your assets while you are alive and upon your death; draft trusts that will operate during your life and after your death to manage your assets in order to support your children until they are of age and to shelter your estate from taxes; protect your heirs from creditors and divorce; utilize gifts to individuals or charities to reduce taxes; incorporate life insurance in your plan to provide liquidity; and more.