Sometimes clients say “I don’t need an estate plan, I’m not a millionaire”. This is a common misconception, the idea being that an estate plan is something only the wealthy need. Factually, everyone needs an Estate plan. It is a plan to ensure not just your finances and assets are taken care of, but also your family, upon your passing.
Especially if you have children, an Estate plan is a must. Your Estate plan will include your will, your power of attorney and your living will or health-care proxy. You do not want someone else to make these kind of important decisions about your life, your health or your family in the event you are incapacitated or have passed unexpectedly, without having your planning done. These are things to think about well before you think you need them.
We will help you take into account all of the questions that go into planning your estate. These questions include, who do you want to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make them? Who do you want to inherit your assets? Who would you want handling your financial affairs if you are unable to? These types of serious considerations and more are all part of a thorough estate plan.
Wayne L.Gardner has dedicated years to helping individuals with their estate planning and is an expert in all the complex decisions that are a part of this process. Email or call today for a free consultation.
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A Declaration of trust, or a trust agreement can be done for an individual or for a married couple. This agreement is done either as a living will or as an asset protection in the event of death. There are many more specific types of trusts. A trust is a very sound way of handling finances as part of estate planning, for tax purposes.
A trust will determine who are the beneficiaries of your estate, and at what age they start to receive benefits. In the case of a married couple, with young children, for example, you may stipulate in a trust agreement that your children will get benefits starting at age 18 or 21, or upon completion of college. You would also need to appoint a grantor, who would be the person who has authority over your trust.
A trust does not replace a will, but when doing a complete estate plan, a trust would be done to address key points such as life insurance and perhaps some specific properties and a will would be done for everything else that is part of your estate.
The important thing to understand is there are many types of trusts, and that my job, as an Estate Planning Attorney is to remove all the complexity and make it feasible for everyone to have their estate planned how they want it. This should not be the right only a select few very wealthy have, but what everyone who has worked hard all their lives, would want to have in place in order to protect their loved ones.
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The expression “Last will and testament” is slightly old fashioned. In the most rigid sense, a will only applied to real property and the “testament” (In other words, trust declaration) applied to personal property.
Regardless of semantics, the last will and testament are your legal documents which state who you want to manage your assets upon your death, and how they should be divided.
People can do a last will and testament on their own, however, there are definite risks including one important one, which is challenges of the validity of the will by the benefactors, in the event of a dispute. This can cause a will to be tied up in probate court for a long time, sometimes many years, and instead of your assets going to the ones you chose, they are simply tied up and not distributed at all.
Having a last will and testament done with a competent experienced Estate planning attorney will save money and time in the long run and prevent possible negative consequences.
Requirements for doing a last will and testament are that you are of sound mind and have reached the age of majority. There are no income or property requirements and there is no “right age” to do this. Once you are responsible for your own money and property, it’s the right age for doing estate planning. A couple with young children would never want their children to go into foster care simply because they did not bother to do a will and appoint which close friend or family member should become their legal guardian in the unfortunate event of their demise.
Consult Wayne Gardner, Esq. and take advantage of over twenty-five years of legal expertise when it comes to planning for those who matter most to you.
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Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is the person you appoint to make decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so. The fact of being unable to do so could be due to being out of town or due to mental and or physical incapacity. This is someone you would call your “attorney-in-fact” and they have the ability to sign documents for you and make decisions about your person and property. In the event of your incapacitation, the power of attorney must be what is called “durable” power of attorney.
An example could be if you were going to be traveling abroad for several months and wanted someone able to pay your bills, deposit money in your accounts, and handle any other matters relating to your property at home, you would need a power of attorney for that duration. Another case could be even if you were on vacation for a few weeks, and you were in the middle of closing on a property, a power of attorney would be able to sign papers for you without your vacation being interrupted.
A power of attorney is often beneficial for seniors whose grown children live on the other side of the country, and who are helping them with certain financial matters. This can avoid delays and back and forth of paperwork and so forth.
Getting a power of attorney drawn up is simple and inexpensive to do with the help of a qualified attorney. Call Wayne Gardner today to arrange an appointment.
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Wayne Gardner, Attorney
Buntrock & Gardner Law, PLLC
Mesa, AZ 85203