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Estate Planning
Estate Plans Are for Everyone
These Documents Will Ensure That You Control Key Decisions By AMANDA R. CARPE, Esq.
The idea of creating an estate plan can be uncom- fortable. It is human nature to shy away from distressing thoughts of what might happen if
we pass away, or if we become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for ourselves. Unfortunately, when it comes to estate planning, delay or avoidance can create serious difficulties, with no easy solutions.
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is much more than just a will.
An estate plan is a comprehensive plan that takes
into account your specific assets and your personal wishes, and ensures that you and your loved ones
are protected if the unforeseeable (or even the foreseeable) happens to you. An experienced estate- planning attorney can work with you to ensure
there is clear authority and direction for handling
your medical care and financial affairs should you become incapacitated or after you have passed
away. A properly prepared, comprehensive estate plan will incorporate many factors, including your personal goals, family dynamics, privacy concerns, and philanthropic ideologies, among others.
Who Needs an Estate Plan?
Estate plans are for everyone. A common misperception is that estate planning is only a concern of senior citizens. In fact, college students, married couples, domestic partners, parents or guardians
of young children, and single people of all ages can benefit greatly from having an estate plan in place. Without an estate plan, the court will decide who handles your affairs if you become incapacitated, and where your assets will go after your death. These
legal proceedings can be public and costly, can take
an incredibly long time to resolve, and can cause irreparable rifts in families. A basic estate plan that includes a healthcare proxy, power of attorney, and
a last will and testament is both a cost-efficient and effective way to make sure your wishes are carried out.
Why Do I Need a Healthcare Proxy?
attorney appoints a trusted person (or entity) to manage your financial affairs on your behalf should you become incapacitated and unable to manage them on your own. In the event you become incapacitated, no one, not even a spouse, can act on your behalf in regard to your financial affairs without a valid power of attorney. This would include paying bills, attending to investments, maintaining or selling a residence, paying a mortgage, filing tax returns, and all other financial matters.
Why Do I Need a Last Will and
Without a last will and testament, the agent who will handle your affairs and how your assets are divided is all predetermined by statute. It is an unfortunate but all-too-frequent occurrence that someone passes away without a will, and suddenly, an otherwise cohesive family begins fighting and disagreeing about how
their deceased loved one’s affairs should be handled. Arguments over personal property, asset management, and distributions can quickly turn litigious, sometimes creating permanent resentment among family members. Having a will helps avoid these potential pitfalls. A last will and testament clearly states who will be responsible for the administration of the estate and how assets will be divided. A clear and well-planned last will and testament can alleviate stress among grieving family members and provide comfort that their loved one’s wishes are being fulfilled.
What If I Want to Avoid Probate?
While a will indicates your wishes and provides instructions to your family and friends as to how you would like your estate managed, it does not avoid probate. There are estate-planning strategies that can ensure your family members can seamlessly and easily handle your affairs after your death, without the need for probate-court involvement. An estate-
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attorney can
work with
you to ensure
there is clear authority and direction for handling your medical care and financial affairs should you become incapacitated or after you have passed away.”
 Everyone over the age of 18 should have a healthcare proxy, and this includes young adults. Without a valid healthcare proxy, hospital privacy laws may prevent your spouse or loved one from getting information about you should you become hurt or sick. This document allows you to designate who will be your decision maker in the unfortunate event of incapacity, as well as whether you wish to be kept alive by machines, or to donate your organs. It also may include directives for funeral arrangements, such as cremation or burial.
Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is one of the most important documents a person can have. A durable power of
        Hyman Darling Gina Barry Ben Coyle Lisa Halbert Todd Ratner Amanda Carpe
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   30 AUGUST 2021

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