Taking Care of Business: Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning

Developing a “Family Plan” is one of the most important things you can accomplish. Having solid Asset Protection Planning and Estate plan is not only for the elderly but middle age and young people as well. Sadly, there are many young and middle age people who die suddenly, often leaving behind minor children who need care and directions.

It is very unfortunate when stocks, bonds, bank accounts, real estate, pension and insurance policy benefits have to go unclaimed because they cannot be found. Make the process easier for your loved ones by having a “Family Plan” in case of sudden death.

A will is usually the most important document to have in a “Family Plan” but it is not the only thing necessary to protect and amass the family assets. The process of organizing one’s assets and affairs in advance so as to safeguard them from loss or dissipation is called Asset Protection planning. Whereas, the primary purpose of estate planning is to distribute your assets according to your wishes after death.

So what is the first step? Have a frank and open discussion with your loved ones about information and documents that affect the family. Place written instructions and documents where they can be found. A safe deposit box, a safe or a secure location for this information should be utilized and the family should know about them.

Next, make sure you have a living will, health care powers of attorney, and financial powers of attorney. These give you control beforehand on how you or your property are to be cared for if disaster strikes due to you becoming mentally or physically incapacitated from an accident or illness. These documents are important because they allow the family to continue to conduct business with minimum interruptions, especially when time can be of the essence.

Lastly, review your insurance policies to determine if there is adequate protection and coverage. Not having enough life, automobile, homeowners, disability, and mortgage insurance coverage can expose your family assets to liability.

Developing a “Family Plan” is one of the most important things you can ccomplish. The time the family spends now to plan in advance will save money for your family in the long run.

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