An “estate” consists of the real and personal property owned by an individual or over which the individual has some control. “Estate planning” is the process of arranging for the protection and transfer of your estate in the event of incapacity or death. There is a misconception that “estate planning” is only for the very wealthy. In fact, estate planning is for everyone.
When the Maine Elder Law Firm works with clients who want to put their affairs in order, we send an Estate Planning Worksheet in advance of the initial consultation. The questionnaire seeks information about family and assets. It asks the client to consider family members or friends to name as Personal Representative, Agent under Power of Attorney, etc.
At the Initial Consultation, we focus on the client’s objectives. Does she want to preserve assets from long term care expenses? Does he want to distribute assets to named individuals and charities? Name guardians and create trusts for minor children or loved ones with disabilities? Minimize the potential for family conflict and future ill-will? Protect an heir’s inheritance from creditors and predators?
At the conclusion of this first meeting, we are able to outline legal services and strategies to meet your needs. Every estate plan is unique. Some are very simple and some are complex.
At a minimum, a complete estate plan includes a will, a general durable power of attorney, and an advance health care directive. In some cases, a revocable living trust, a life insurance trust, a special needs trust, or other advanced planning documents also may be appropriate.
Refer to these articles for more information:
- Advanced Health Care Directives
- Advantages of a Last Will and Testament
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Pitfalls in Estate Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs
- Using a Trust for Management and Future Ownership of the Family Camp
- What are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Agent under a Power of Attorney?