Thursday, June 2, 2011

Estate Planning Questions: "What Documents are Necessary for Everyone ?"

Estate planning questions: "What documents are necessary for everyone?"

In our series of articles responding to frequently asked questions about estate planning, we recently dealt with the question of who should have a Will. You can read that article below.

Today we tackle a different question, what documents are recommended for everyone regardless of their situation. Remember, the need for a Will is situation dependent. There are certain documents necessary that are not dependent on your situation.

Here are documents every person over 18 should have:

1. Durable Financial Power of Attorney.

This document permits your chosen person to deal with your money, property, bills and taxes if you are incapacitated.

2. Durable Health Care Power of Attorney.

This document permits the person you choose to deal with your doctors and medical care issues if you can't speak for yourself.

3. Living Will

This document sets forth your wishes if you are unfortunately in a coma as a result of a terminal disease or injury and you can't speak for yourself.

4. An estate planning assessment.

This is not a document, but a planning meeting with an estate planning attorney. This meeting is recommended so you can make sure you don't miss something else that may be required to protect yourself, your family or your property.

These are legal documents and should be pursued with appropriate legal advice and assistance.

Let me know what you think about this article and if you have a question that you would like to see us address. Thank you.

Bernie Greenberg

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Estate Planning Questions: "Do I Really Need a Will?"

Estate Planning Questions: "Do I really need a Will?"

Each week we answer all questions we receive from the public on various estate planning topics. Here is the most frequently asked question so far this week in its various forms:

1. Do I really need a Will? and 2. Does everyone need a Will?

This is actually a very good question and is not as simple as you might think. You probably thought I was going to answer that, "yes, everyone should have a Will". But that is not correct. Not everyone "NEEDS" a Will.

Since everyone's situation, family status and estate is different, the correct answer is "it depends". I know, a typical lawyer answer, but it is true. This is one of many reasons that internet Wills and estate plans don't work.

There are certain situations when a Will is mandatory. They include:

1. You want a specific result to occur if something happens to you.

2. You want specific people to handle your estate when you die.

3. You have children, especially minor children.

4. You are doing an estate plan anyway.

There is only one way to find out if you "need" a Will. That way is to meet with an estate planning attorney and go over your situation. You may find, like many, that you don't "need" a Will, but you "want" one in order to accomplish specific goals that you have.

There are dozens of different types of Wills and even more types of estate plans. So go ahead, and schedule a review meeting for yourself today. Find out about your situation and then make an informed choice to protect yourself and your family.

Bernie Greenberg