Estate planning allows people to provide direction about the disposition of their assets before they die and after their death. Estate planning can include wills and trusts, as well as powers of attorney and other documents. Both state and federal law impact estate planning, and some may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary to achieve their desired outcomes. Some of these more complex techniques include family limited partnerships (FLPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs). Estate tax and other estate-related issues are hot legislative items. That’s why a competent and experienced estate planning lawyer is an essential ally in assuring that your unique estate planning goals are understood and carried out. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call one today.
Estate Planning Glossary of Terms
Please refer to the following list of common estate planning terms and definitions.
Estate Planning & Asset Protection
Estate and asset protection planning are designed to help people preserve their assets for future needs and goals by making them unavailable to creditors. While many think asset protection involves cloak-and-dagger techniques, there are many perfectly legal and ethical means to protect financial reserves and property for retirement or for future generations. These techniques may include tax reduction strategies, financial gifts, business formation, or certain types of wills and trusts. Asset protection is a complex area of estate planning, and requires specific knowledge and experience of a range of laws. If you are interested in asset protection, you should seek out a competent and experienced estate planning lawyer to help you achieve your goals. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call one today.
Wills & Trusts
Wills tell a person’s family or heirs – and the courts – how that person wanted to distribute his or her money and property. A will is the most basic estate planning tool, and a current and valid will is the best way to make sure your goals are met and your family is taken care of after you’re gone. Many people opt for a trust as part of a will, or as an estate planning method of its own. A trust sets up a means to control property that is put under its authority. The person who makes and funds the trust uses the trust document to specify how the trust assets should be managed and who should receive benefits. Whether you want to prepare your first will or you are interested in updating your estate plan or exploring trusts, a skilled estate planning lawyer can help you tailor a plan to your needs.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that confers power on someone to act for another person in certain circumstances. In a power of attorney, one person (the principal) names someone to act as his or her “agent” (also called an “attorney-in-fact”). The attorney-in-fact steps into the shoes of the principal, and can make legally binding decisions for the him or her. Powers of attorney can grant broad powers or limit the attorney-in-fact to particular situations. There are many options and variables, as well as different types of powers of attorney and legal directives. If you are interested in drafting a power of attorney, you should contact an estate planning lawyer to explain the pros and cons to you.
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