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Estate Planning: The Basics

At its heart, an estate plan is a tool to protect your dreams, goals, and loved ones after you are gone. Just as every family and individual are unique, every estate plan must be a little different if it is going to serve its intended purpose. At Findley & Rogers, we craft our individualized estate plans by listening carefully to you, helping you identify your personal estate planning goals, and then explaining your best options for achieving those goals.

Everyone's situation is unique, and we understand that. You may be most concerned about what would happen to your children if something unexpected should happen to you. Or perhaps you want to ensure that your life's work carries on after you are gone. You may need to plan for the care of a disabled family member. Whatever your individual goals may be, we can help you to build a comprehensive estate plan to achieve those goals.

In order to offer as unique a plan as possible, we utilize a wide range of different legal tools. We also talk with you to ensure that you understand exactly what tools are in your estate plan and how they work to achieve your goals.

Our tools include:

  • Wills - The most basic estate planning document - important for almost everyone.

  • Testamentary Trusts within Wills - Can ensure that your money is used for your children's benefit in the way that you desire.

  • Naming Guardians - Can ensure that your children are cared for by the people that you choose.

  • Estate Tax Trusts - Can help minimize your tax burden, ensuring that your assets go to your loved ones. Frequently avoid the necessity of probate.

  • Revocable Living Trusts - Place your money in a trust that is managed for your benefit while you are still alive. You will be able to manage the trust yourself, and can name someone to manage it for you in the event that you should become incapacitated. These are especially useful for people without family, and they have the benefit of usually avoiding probate.

  • General Durable Powers of Attorney - Ensure that your assets are controlled by someone that you trust, should you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself.

  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care - Should you ever become incapacitated, these documents guarantee that important decisions regarding your medical care are made by the people that you want making those decisions.

  • Health Care Directives, also called 'living wills' - Let your family and your doctors know exactly what you want to happen in the event that you should ever be incapacitated.

  • Community Property Agreements - These agreements can transfer property from one spouse to another in the event of a death without the necessity of probate or complex trusts.

  • Memorial Instructions - Make sure that your memory is honored in the way that you wish.

  • And many, many more...

You may be curious as to why some of these tools would ever be necessary. Why not just spell everything out in a simple will? The answer is that, because people have so many different goals, no one legal instrument could ever provide the best option for everyone.

For example, some people want to keep their affairs as private as possible. Since a will becomes a public document during the probate procedure, there would be no way for them to protect their privacy if they are relying exclusively on a will. In another example, older people with health issues may be concerned about protecting their spouse or leaving something behind for their loved ones when Medicaid seems to be designed to take every last dollar. For people in these situations, a system of trusts that function separately from a will may be the best option.

Since it is impossible for us to describe every possible scenario here, we recommend that you call us and tell us about your situation, so that we can help you start protecting what matters today.

Contact us today to discuss your case.

Phone: 206-331-7377

Fax: 206-486-9930

Email: info@findleyrogerslaw.com