What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words "Estate Planning?"
Is it dread? Or is it uncomfortable feelings regarding the planning for the end of your life - when death seems to be way, way off in the distant future? Is it something we just choose not to think about right now, because of those things? For many of us, yes, those feelings are all accurate. And even though it's not fun to think about it, it's inevitable that we all will die. Some sooner, some later, and some (unfortunately) traumatically. The point is, we're not rushing that event, or willing it to happen sooner, we're merely just planning for it. And if that plan happens to sit on a shelf for a long, long, long time - that's wonderful.
Estate Planning is such a broad category, encompassing so many areas of planning, and it doesn't have to be scary. There's a lot of power in deciding what will happen to your estate ("stuff") after you're gone. It's one less thing to worry about, you can cross it off that mental checklist list. And that feels pretty good. Trust us.
Cross that dread and worry off of your mental checklist.
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So let's get down to it, shall we? Let's define "Estate Planning".
Estate planning is the process by which an individual or family arranges for the transfer of assets after their death, or incapacitation.
That's not so bad, is it? The awesome part about Estate Planning is that it can look totally different to each person. And at Tomac & Tomac, we have the tools in our toolbox to help you plan for exactly what that looks like for you.
Now let's define some key terms.
Your Estate Plan with Tomac & Tomac will likely consist of some of the following:
A “Will” is the document that most people imagine when they contemplate creating an estate plan. This document names an Executor, can name guardians for minor children and can set out who will receive certain property after you pass away.
Trusts have been used for hundreds of years for a host of different purposes. This wide variety of functions has given rise to numerous misconceptions about trusts. Simply put, a trust is a mechanism that allows one party to hold title to property of another. The use of trusts in estate planning is invaluable and can be used to accomplish a number of different goals, including but not limited to: privacy, probate avoidance, asset protections, and tax planning,
Powers of Attorney
Powers of Attorney are documents that allow an individual to give an agent the authority to act on their behalf. These documents are only effective while the individual is still alive and can be drafted in such a way to allow the agent to act during and individual’s incapacity. Often an individual will draft one Financial Power of Attorney for financial matters and another Healthcare Power of Attorney for healthcare and medical matters.
A Living Will is a document used to specify your wishes related to end of life care.
Advanced Planning Strategies
Often, families need planning strategies that go beyond the typical estate plan. Our attorneys have experience determining when more advanced strategies are necessary and incorporating those strategies for an effective overall plan including:
Domestic Asset Protection Trusts
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)
Supplemental/Special Needs Trusts
Family Limited Liability Companies
Family Limited Partnerships
Closely Held Corporations
Business Succession Planning