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"If I had only known ..."

The most common statement I hear from people who have gone gone through probate, a stressful estate resolution ordeal, or extended disability of an end-of-life family member begins with: "If I had only known ..... "

It is common that a rigorous and professsional estate planning process will identify potential benefits that can reduce disputes and heartache among surviving family members and beneficiaries or alter the apportionment of estate assets to taxes or creditors in favor of surviving beneficiaries.

Estate planning is something that anyone with assets and/or family should address, and for some clients, estate planning may be complex. The benefits extend to the surviving family who endure less stress at a time of grieving and/or significant emotional and financial stress.

The essentials of estate planning include the following three documents:

  • Will
  • Medical and financial Power Of Attorney (POA), and
  • Health care directive (living will).

Individual circumstances may suggest a need for additional trust or asset-management documents or may identify a client's qualification for special state or national government programs that may enhance disabililty benefits or or end-of-life benefits. There is no one-fits-all solution. Alternative considerations in estate planning include:

  • Disability assistance / aide programs
  • Special Needs trust
  • Gardianship
  • Vulnerable adult protection

Additional information is available in Frequently Asked Questions for Estates and Trusts.

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