Why should I have an estate plan?
Disagreements arise even among the most loving and stable family members. In the event
of your incapacitation or death, disagreements about your intentions can erupt into full-
blown family disputes. These disputes can destroy what were once close relationships and
result in costly litigation. An estate plan’s primary goal is to maintain harmony within your
family after your death or incapacitation and to maximize the transfer of assets to your
What is the point of having an estate plan?
The purpose of an estate plan is to provide peace of mind for you, security for your family,
financial flexibility during your lifetime, and asset protection after your death. The
instruments that can be used to achieve these purposes range from the very simple to the
• Are you worried about the probate process?
• Who will take care of you children if you cannot?
• Do you want to minimize estate taxes?
• Are you going to have a major medical procedure performed soon?
• Are there charitable activities that you support?
• Do you want to provide support for you grandchildren?
• Do you have a child with physical or mental disabilities?
• Are you concerned about paying for long-term care for yourself or a loved one?
These sorts of questions are very personal and will dictate what sort of estate planning
tools should be utilized on your behalf.
What tools are available for estate planning?
Living trusts and Pour-over Wills can allow your assets to pass to your beneficiaries
without going through the time-consuming, expensive, and public probate process.
Advanced Health Care Directives can allow you to clearly designate a Health Care
Agent who can make medical decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated.
Durable Powers of Attorney can allow you to clearly designate an Agent to make
financial decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated.
Guardianship Statements can allow you – and not a judge – to designate who will
raise your children in the event that you cannot.
Irrevocable Trusts can allow high net worth individuals pass a greater share of their
estate to their loved ones and charitable causes.
Special Needs Trusts can allow you to provide security to a loved one with a physical
or mental disability.
These are but some of the tools that are available. Working with an estate planning
attorney can ensure that you are aware of all of your options and that your estate
plan is professionally constructed.