Estate planning is when a person creates a document detailing how they would like their property handled after they pass away. An estate plan refers to more than just a will; there are a few other legal processes to choose from as well.
The most common form of an estate plan, a will usually consist of instructions on how you would like your property and certain matters handled upon your death.
These matters can include the:
- designating a guardian for any minor children you may have;
- appointing trustees for any funds and assets you leave to minor children; and/or
- designating an executor of your estate.
If you die without a will, your heirs will need to go through an extensive probate process before they receive estate property.
A trust is like a will in that it delegates how you would like your assets handled after you pass away. However, assets held in a trust generally do not go through probate and, with certain trusts, modify who receives these assets and the actual assets in the trust themselves.
Trusts that can be modified at any time before the grantor’s death are known as revocable trusts. Trusts that cannot be modified are known as irrevocable trusts.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document in which one person grants another the authority to make certain decisions and actions on their behalf. For example, with a medical power of attorney, someone may choose to give the responsibility of delegating important medical decisions if they can no longer make those on their own. Another example is a durable power of attorney to delegate someone to make financial decisions if they no longer can make those decisions on their own.
Other powers of attorney examples are:
- General: This gives an agent the authority to act on your behalf in a wide range of matters.
- Limited or Special: This gives an agent authority over limited matters and/or situations. For example, you could grant your friend a limited power of attorney if you are going to be out of town and need a deed or title signed that day.
- Durable: This continues to stay in effect if you become incapacitated or are unable to handle certain matters by yourself.
- Springing: This names an agent to handle your affairs only after you become disabled or incapacitated.
A Competent Estate Planning Attorney
At Law Offices of Nancy Perry Eaton, PLLC, we understand the importance of ensuring the protection of your estate. Our estate planning attorney can help you construct a solid document that explains your wishes in detail.
Call our firm today at (254) 221-8588 or contact us online for a free consultation.