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If you don’t understand estate planning or don’t have an estate plan in place, you’ve come to the right place. Estate Planning is the creation of a defined, specific, personalized and legal plan for managing your assets while you are alive and distributing those assets after death to your loved ones. A sound estate plan includes provisions to keep assets and health care decisions within the control of your responsible family members should you become mentally or physically incapacitated. The plan should also avoid probate at death and protect assets should you become disabled and need long-term nursing care either at home or in a skilled nursing facility.
At Integrated Planning Strategies, we love what we do… educating the general public about the intricacies of estate planning and providing quality documents to support our members. Be it businesses or individuals – big estates or small homeowners – we can help!
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An Estate Plan is an assortment of legal documents created to help you accomplish specific goals. These goals may be to avoid probate at death, transfer assets to loved ones without outside interference or delays, reduce expenses, maintain estate privacy, maintain control of assets during a disability and more. The foundation to a good estate plan almost always contains some type of living trust, a pour-over will, power of attorney documents for finances and health, a living will, plus other supporting documents that will organize and spell out your wishes to your family in the event of your death or disability.
Almost anyone who owns a house or property or has a family should create an estate plan. Your age or the amount of your wealth should have little to do with your decision to plan. A good estate plan ensures that your hard-earned assets will pass intact to those you list as your beneficiaries instead of government bureaucrats or to individuals outside of your immediate family who may unintentionally receive your assets. It should also provide asset protection during your lifetime and not just when you die. Losing assets to a nursing home or to law suits during your life are clearly unwanted events that a properly planned estate plan will avoid.
For anyone who dies intestate (meaning having died without a Will or Estate Plan), each state has written laws that will distribute assets for you. The dilemma is, your family will rarely like the results. Intestate distributions guarantee government involvement and the loss of control of your property until distribution is made to the heirs that government chooses. Considering the number of divorces and with children from previous marriages living in other households and with second and third marriages being a common event, property distributed through intestate laws will often not be given to the individual(s) you wanted to receive your assets.