COMPREHENSIVE ESTATE PLAN PORTFOLIO

The common misconception is that estate planning is only for the wealthy or the elderly. The truth is, every family can benefit from and should have some kind of estate plan arranged to address a host of issues, including designating a family member or trusted representative to make decisions involving your medical treatment or financial affairs in case you become ill or incapacitated during your lifetime. If this happens and no one is empowered to step in and help you, the time and cost burden will be significant if you have to petition a court to designate a representative or grant access to important resources to ensure you get the medical care you need, keep your financial obligations from lapsing, and meet other responsibilities to those who depend on you most, such as minor children, elderly parents, spouses and domestic partners.

 

  • Estate Planning advice

  • Review and modify an existing will or living trust

  • Preparation of complete estate portfolio

  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

  • Advance Healthcare Directives

  • HIPAA Authorizations

  • Wills

 
family estate planning
 

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

A power of attorney (POA) authorizes a person to act on another's behalf to make decisions involving finances, healthcare or other legal matters. This general POA is often used in a business context and includes actions such as buying or selling property, transfers of vehicle titles, management of financial accounts, preparation or filing of tax returns, or applying for benefits on behalf of another person. The person creating the power is the grantor or principal and the one in whom the power is created is the agent or attorney-in-fact. When the grantor of the POA becomes incapacitated or dies, the POA is terminated and the agent no longer has power to act on the grantor's behalf.

A durable power of attorney (DPOA) however, does not expire when the grantor loses mental capacity, which is why it can be a critical component not only in a complete estate plan, but also as a stand alone device. Unexpected circumstances can cause you to lose cognitive capacity during your lifetime. If this happens and you do not have a DPOA, a loved one or trusted representative would first have ask a court to declare you incompetent and seek the right to access your financial resources in order to help you. In addition, because family members are often faced with the difficulty of having to spend their own money to initiate legal proceedings on your behalf to get you the care you need and/or handle your affairs, this can be not only cost prohibitive for others to take on, but also a lengthy and complicated process for all.

 

ADVANCED HEALTHCARE DIRECTIVES

An advanced healthcare directive is sometimes referred to as a Medical Power of Attorney and like a general power of attorney, you can  designate a family member, friend or trusted representative to make decisions for your health and well-being in the event that you can't. This person is known as a health care agent. There are many scenarios that make having an advanced healthcare directive appropriate or even necessary, such as preparing for important medical procedures, after a diagnosis of a life threatening or chronic medical condition, before you travel and as you age. Advanced healthcare directives help to ensure that you receive the scope of medical care you would choose as if you were deciding for yourself. In these uncertain times, advanced healthcare directives will help to give you and your family peace of mind.

  • Living wills

  • Medical Power of Attorney

  • Organ and tissue donation

  • Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)

  • Do Not Resuscitate orders (DNR)

 

WILLS

No one can guarantee what the future holds. Even though making a will is one of the most loving and logical things a person can do for their family, many people avoid it or procrastinate making these important decisions. By taking the time to consider some important options, like who should handle your affairs, how your estate should be distributed, and create a document that reflects these important decisions, you will not only prevent the state from making these personal decisions for you according to the default laws, but you'll also save loved ones and those who matter to you most from experiencing the emotional strife and chaos that can accompany an intestate succession (death without a will).

 

Having a will gives you the power to leave to chosen individuals specific gifts like heirlooms, real property, automobiles or cash gifts, and avoids treasured possessions or other assets unintentionally succeeding to distant relatives that you wouldn't otherwise want to include. In addition to property distributions, wills are a tool you can use to determine guardianship for minor children or other relatives with special needs, provide charitable donations to organizations and causes you wish to support, reduce tax liability, burial decisions, and help to avoid a lengthy and complicated probate court process.

 

TRUSTS

A living trust is an estate planning device used to manage property during one's life and determines how that property should be distributed after death. When a trust is created by an individual, that person is known as the Trustor or Grantor, who transfers property he or she owns to another person or entity, a Trustee, who manages it according to specific instructions in the trust document for the benefit of another person or entity, known as the Beneficiary. A trust is a fiduciary relationship, and it's purpose, trustee powers and parameters are outlined within the document. Often, revocable living trusts are created by one person, who may occupy all three roles, and can be modified or revoked during the trustor's lifetime. However, there are many types of trusts and trust purposes that an estate planning attorney can help arrange depending on the circumstances and needs of every client.

Like wills, trusts are an important and useful estate planning strategy that can provide many benefits, such as asset protection, access to resources in the event the trustor becomes incapacitated, easy distribution of property, tax advantages, probate avoidance, and avoiding waste or misuse of trust property.

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FAMILY BUSINESS SUCCESSION

Family business enterprises can be unique and complex. The success and continuity of a small family business is dependent upon advanced planning strategies of key management and leadership. There are many considerations that business owners must explore, including strategies to train or recruit for key management positions, whether to transfer ownership to family members or other parties, selling to a partner, another high level employee or an outsider, or closing and liquidating. Succession planning is a process with several phases that not only gives owners an opportunity to plan for their retirement, but also to shape future business strategies, assess performances and potential of key personnel, develop standards and incentive programs, and preserve the future and longevity of their business enterprise.

  • Identify viable successor managers and leaders

  • Assess talent

  • Implement incentive programs

  • Develop business strategy

  • Develop performance assessment tools

  • Integrate team approach

  • Create training and recruitment protocols

 

HIPAA AUTHORIZATIONS

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal statute that established national standards for the protection of certain health information. Commonly referred to as HIPAA, or the HIPAA Privacy Rule, it addresses requirements for the use and disclosure of individuals' health information, known as "protected health information" by organizations such as hospitals and health care providers, known as "covered entities." The Rule further outlines privacy rights so individuals can understand and control how their health information may be used and balances the assurance of the protection of that information while also permitting the needed flow of information to promote quality care and protect health and well-being.

With identity theft increasing at an alarming pace globally, medical identity theft is also rapidly on the rise and can cause extreme damage by including false data into one's medical records, which can be costly to fix and in some cases, be a life or death matter if coverage is denied, preventing people from receiving necessary treatments.

HIPAA Authorizations are important and useful devices that communicate your desires for how you want your information shared and who may have access, which can influence what medical decisions are ultimately made for your care.