Tools For An Effective Estate Plan
At Bieber & Czechowski, our estate attorneys offer over 40 years of experience to help you create a rock solid estate plan. We provide the personal attention you deserve to build a specially tailored plan to meet your goals.
While every situation is unique, consider the following documents to create a thorough estate plan:
- Living trust: A living trust is created to distribute your assets upon your death while avoiding a high level of court involvement. This type of trust often works together with a will, but helps to avoid probate, protect inheritance and shield assets if you need assistance managing your financial affairs.
- Will: Alongside a living trust, a will is the cornerstone of your estate plan. On its own, it can govern the division and distribution of your assets upon your death. It also names the executor of your estate. It is important to note that this document does not govern “joint assets” or those that designate a beneficiary.
- Beneficiary designation: Retirement accounts and insurance policies designate beneficiaries and pass automatically upon your death. Make sure these assets are always updated after family changes. You will want to ensure they are aligned with your estate planning goals.
- Living will/health care directive/power of attorney for health care: A complete estate plan may include these documents to name your health care agents if you are unable to make medical treatment decisions on your own. You can detail specific instructions for medical treatment such as life-prolonging therapy.
- Durable power of attorney: This document assigns a person to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated or if you can no longer do so on your own. This designation can include a wide range of power, but you have the option to limit what powers you grant to an individual. You should know that assets in a living trust are not controlled by a power of attorney, rather, they are governed by your trustees.