Let’s Make a Plan

I believe everyone should have a plan for what happens after they die. Creating a plan like this is called “estate planning”—a phrase that puts off people who think their circumstances don’t qualify them for this type of planning. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. What estate planning really means is that you’re planning for the future now to reduce the burden on your loved ones during an emotionally difficult time. Without a plan in place, your loved ones will have to guess what your wishes were while attempting to navigate the probate process.   

Let me help you put your estate plan in place today. I can’t ease the heartache, but I can ease the headache.

How I Can Help You Make Your Estate Plan

Step 1: First, we’ll have a conversation about your family, your finances, your concerns, and your wishes.

Step 2: Then I’ll use the information from our conversation to prepare the documents that will allow you choose:

  • who will manage your financial affairs when you die;
  • how to provide for your loved ones when you die;
  • who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated;
  • who will take care of your children if you’re unable to do so; and
  • what you would like to happen to your body when you die.

Step 3: Once you’re satisfied with the documents, I’ll help you get them signed, witnessed, and notarized in accordance with state law, and provide you with instructions for keeping the documents secure until they’re needed.

The Documents We’ll Use to Make Your Estate Plan

Your will:

  1. specifies where you want your money and your belongings to go when you die;
  2. nominates your executor (the person who will wrap up your financial affairs for you when you die); and
  3. provides for an independent administration of your estate, which saves time, money, and hassle for your loved ones.
Statutory durable power of attorney

The statutory durable power of attorney (also known as a financial power of attorney) allows you to nominate an agent to manage your financial affairs. You can choose to have this power go into effect when you sign the document or only if you become incapacitated.

Medical power of attorney

The medical power of attorney allows you to nominate an agent to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

Advance directive

The advance directive (also known as a “living will”) allows you to choose whether you would like to be kept comfortable or placed on life support if you are diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition.

Declaration of Guardian for Children

This declaration allows you to appoint two types of guardian for your minor children in case you are no longer able to care for them:

  • the guardian of the person will manage your child’s daily living activities and medical care; and
  • the guardian of the estate will manage your child’s finances.
HIPAA Authorization

The HIPAA Authorization allows you to authorize specific people to have access to your health care information. Unlike the medical power of attorney, this document does not authorize anyone to make decisions for you.

Final Disposition Instructions
The final disposition instructions allow you to:

  • express your wishes regarding burial, cremation, and organ or body donation;
  • express your wishes regarding a funeral or celebration of life; and
  • appoint a representative to carry out these wishes.
Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian

This declaration allows you to appoint two types of guardian for yourself in case you are no longer able to take care of yourself:

  • the guardian of the person will manage your daily living activities and healthcare; and
  • the guardian of the estate will manage your finances.

There are several different kinds of trusts. For most parents of young kids, a trust is a way to provide financial stability and support for their children in case both parents pass away while the children are still young; these types of trusts are included in the will, and are known as testamentary trusts. There are many other kinds of trusts to address specific situations. Just a few examples are: a living trust (to provide flexibility if you own out-of-state property or in other limited situations), a pet trust (to provide for pets in certain circumstances, gun trusts (for certain types of weapons), and special needs trusts (for family members with special needs).