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Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?

 
October 16, 2013 - "Why do I need an estate plan?"  An estate plan gives you peace that your affairs are in order, reduces stress and uncertainty for your loved ones, and insures that your wishes are followed. An Estate Plan typically includes the following:
 
WILL/TRUST
This document designates who you want to inherit your property, what they are to receive, and who you want to administer your estate.  Wills can also take care of other designations, such as burial requests. 
A Will is important for parents with children.  It can insure any funds a child inherits will be placed in trust until a certain age, while being used for living expenses.  It can also allow parents to designate their recommended guardian subject to court approval.   
 
POWER OF ATTORNEYS
The two most common types of Power of Attorney are Finances/Legal Matters and Health Care. These give authority to your designee to act on your behalf while you are alive. 
Power of Attorneys are Durable or Limited.  Durable gives your designee full control immediately.  Limited limits when the document is in effect (hence the name), typically when the designator is incapacitated, and can limit what authority your designee has. 
 
HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES
This document gives direction about the type of medical treatment you want in certain circumstances.  It allows you to inform medical providers and loved ones of your desires in the event you are unable to do so at the time medical decisions are being made.  
 
COMMUNITY PROPERTY AGREEMENT
Typically, property a married couple acquires is considered community property, meaning each owns one-half of the property.  A Community Property Agreement converts all property to community property, unless specified otherwise.  It helps avoid a probate for a surviving spouse by passing all assets to the surviving spouse efficiently and inexpensively.   
Estate plans are important to insure that you are taken care of through your life and that your estate is handled as you wish.  At Hanis Irvine Prothero, we are committed to helping you prepare and understand these documents and other documents that may be beneficial to you and your loved ones as you plan for the future.
 
Estate Planning Attorney Patrick Hanis
phanis@hiplawfirm.com
253.520.5000
 

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