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Probate Analysis

Many people assume that estate planning is for the elderly and the wealthy. When in fact, if you begin as early as age 40, you stand to reap significant benefits immediately - not the least of which is protecting your heirs from a host of legal complications if you were to pass away unexpectedly.

One of the first steps you'll need to undertake is to have your attorney draft wills for you and your spouse. A valid will, the cornerstone of any estate plan, assures that your estate is distributed at your death as you wish it to be.

Among the issues your wills need to address are:

  • Designation of a guardian for your children. The selection of a guardian for minor-aged children is anything but a trivial decision. Who will take care of your children if you're not around? Who can you trust to bring them up as you would? Who among your family, friends and associates has the financial knowledge to manage their property so that it is protected and grows?
  • Designation of an executor/trustee. You also need to name someone to manage the settlement of your estate. Typically, this person is not a family member - the process is complicated, time-consuming and best left to professionals.
  • Contingencies in the event of your incapacity. If you become mentally or physically unable to handle your financial affairs, what then? This portion of your will addresses such issues as the naming of the person to whom responsibility for the management of your affairs is assigned (power of attorney) and how you wish to be dealt with in the event of severe incapacitation (living will).

Certain life events may call for you to review the estate plan you create: birth or adoption of a child, death of a spouse, dissolution of the marriage, death or resignation of person specified as guardian of your children or executor of your estate, dramatic change in the value of your estate, or modification in the tax laws.

We encourage you to become more knowledgeable about estate planning by scheduling a an estate planning assessment with your legal counsel in addition to scheduling a financial needs analysis with one of our financial services professionals.