A Will is the most basic estate planning document, which outlines who should get your assets and who will care for your minor children, if applicable. It appoints an executor, who is a person you choose to be in charge of effectuating the terms of your will.
There are different types of trusts, but the most common one is the Living Trust, which is usually used to avoid "probate". What this means is that after death, property held in trust can be transferred to inheritors without going through the County probate court, saving family members delay and expense. A Living Trust however, does not generally provide asset protection.
There are many other kinds of trusts designed to accomplish certain goals, including Special Needs Trusts, trusts for children, express trusts, charitable trusts, gun trusts and the list goes on. Let us know what your goals are and we can advise you on available options. They can be a valuable addition to your estate plan.
A general Power of Attorney (POA) is a very powerful document - it legally assigns general authority to an agent to act on any matters that you could act on. In many cases, a limited power of attorney can be a more appropriate tool, as it limits the scope of the authority of your agent.
Although a general POA becomes ineffective if you become incompetent, a durable power of attorney (DPOA), automatically extends the duration of the Power of Attorney to remain effective regardless of competency. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) automatically extends the duration of the Power of Attorney considered incompetent.
A healthcare power of attorney (HCPOA) allows you to identify who will make health care decisions for you at any time that you cannot make such decisions for yourself. It, along with the Living Will, documents your decisions regarding artificial life support and allows you to make known other healthcare options if you choose.
Asset protection strategies are those designed to shield your wealth. There are various tools available to accomplish this- including prenuptial agreements, certain types of trusts, setting up LLCs, and even the location of your assets. It is important to note, however, that these strategies must be properly used. Asset protection is completely legal, planning to defraud creditors is not.