Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why Should I Plan My Estate?

Being in this line of work, I understand that no one wants to talk about their own mortality or the importance of planning for the unexpected.  However, by procrastinating in implementing at least a basic estate plan, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries may not receive what you would want them to receive; whether due to administration costs, taxes, costs of long-term care or bickering among heirs.

These are just a few reasons why estate planning is so important, no matter the size of your estate.  It allows you to decide who will be in charge and to ensure that your property will go to the people you want, in the way you want, and when you want.  A more comprehensive plan can permit you to save as much as possible on taxes, court costs and attorneys' fees; while affording your loved ones the opportunity to mourn and grieve without being burdened with administrative matters.

All estate plans should include, at minimum, three important estate planning instruments: a durable power of attorney, a health care proxy, and a will. The first is for managing your property during your life, in case you are ever unable to do so yourself. The second is for making medical decisions in the event that you’re incapable of making them yourself.  And, the third is for the management and distribution of your property after death.

“Plan in advance to give your loved ones a chance, or procrastinate and leave it up to the state!”
For more information on basic estate planning, please visit my website: www.daviaulaw.com or contact me at nick@daviaulaw.com or (508) 797-3010.
Visit my elder law blog as well: http://worcesterelderlaw.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

General Durable Power of Attorney – The Most Important Tool in One’s Estate Planning Arsenal

General Durable Power of Attorney – The Most Important Tool in One’s Estate Planning Arsenal
When someone hears or mentions the term, estate planning, a Will is usually the first thing that comes to mind.  While a will is an important part of a comprehensive estate plan, a power of attorney is generally the most important document one can have in place.
Too many times, I have encountered situations where I meet with a client and his or her loved one hasn’t executed a power of attorney.  Without having such a document in place, one can be left without a decision-maker for his or her finances.  Furthermore, that loved one is now forced to petition to the probate court to become his or her loved one’s conservator.  This is an expensive and time consuming process.  Not only that but once the probate court is involved, that person’s business is public record and can be accessed by almost anyone.  Lastly, a probate court judge has the responsibility of appointing someone to act as the Conservator.
All this can be avoided by executing a General Durable Power of Attorney.  This is a document that allows an individual (known as the “principal”) to choose an agent (the “attorney-in-fact”) to handle his or her financial affairs should the principal become incapacitated.  Executing a power of attorney is very inexpensive and could save your loved ones the time, money and frustration associated with probate court proceedings.
As I always like to say, “Plan in advance to give your loved ones a chance or procrastinate and leave it up to the state!
For more information, please visit my website: www.daviaulaw.com, e-mail me (nick@daviaulaw.com) or call me at (508) 797-3010.