Easy Estate Planning: The Essential Documents
Attorney Brandon K. Wagner has been practicing law for over a decade. After serving in the U.S. Army as Chief of Legal Assistance, among other notable titles, he began practicing law in Michigan. In 2018, he established Wagner Law to serve his community in Clarkson by providing legal expertise in many areas, including estate planning.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is the process of documenting specific arrangements regarding asset and personal management if an individual passes or is incapacitated. It ensures that one’s wishes are legalized and respected if they are unable to enforce or relay them.
What Are The Essential Documents?
Several documents are ideal for anyone with a sizable estate, children, or specific requests should any life-altering incident leave them incapacitated. The following documents are recommended to protect you and your loved ones and generally require notarization and witnesses.
Wills & Trusts
Wills and Trusts can be used to allocate your assets and provide for your family upon your passing. It will detail how you, the grantor or trustor, would like your affairs handled and permit your appointed trustee the right to manage your estate or specific assets. Wills and Trusts are similar and mainly differ in how and when they become effective: Wills go into effect upon your passing, whereas Trusts are immediately effective.
Wills are also more straightforward and tend to be used for naming guardians, designating assets, and specifying final arrangements.
Trusts are less simple but offer several benefits, such as more control over the asset distribution timeline and process and the inclusion of a wider variety of assets.
Both estate planning documents provide different benefits, and consulting an experienced attorney can help determine what is best for you.
Living Wills are documentation of your end-of-life preferences for medical treatment if you cannot make decisions for yourself. This advance directive can guide choices made by healthcare professionals concerning your care.
This aspect of estate planning intends to have your preferences legally recognized, avoid unnecessary suffering, and relieve loved ones of potentially drastic and stressful decision-making.
Beneficiary designations allow you to name the individual or individuals who will inherit assets upon your passing. These designations are commonplace with financial and retirement accounts and life insurance policies.
When designating a beneficiary, you will likely need to provide their legal name, relationship to you, and contact information.
Financial Power of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney is a document that legally authorizes a person, known as a “principal,” to designate someone else, known as an “agent,” to manage some or all of their finances. This goes into effect upon incapacitation or when you are determined to be unable to make your own financial decisions.
The agent may be able to:
- Sign checks
- Make deposits
- Pay bills
- Sell property
- Get insurance
- Contract services
- Manage personal affairs
- And more!
An agent’s abilities can be documented explicitly in the Financial Power of Attorney so that you may control or limit them.
Medical Power of Attorney
A Medical Power of Attorney gives another person the legal authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Like Financial Power of Attorney, you appoint an agent you trust to know and honor your wishes.
This document is crucial because it ensures clear directives on who should be making serious decisions when you cannot do so. If an accident leaves you incapacitated without a Medical Power of Attorney, the court or someone you may not want to make medical decisions may be appointed.
While it can be unsettling to think about such a travesty, preparing for an unknown future greatly benefits loved ones by providing them the comfort of knowing they are acting in your best interest by following your legal directives.
How Does Attorney Brandon K. Wagner Help In The Estate Planning Process?
Attorney Brandon K. Wagner of Wagner Law offers a plethora of services to minimize the stress of estate planning, including:
- Drafting and Establishing Powers of Attorney, Wills, Trusts, Beneficiary designations, and other advance directives;
- Updating and modifying as necessary to align with life changes;
- Setting up a trust;
- Appointing guardians for children;
- Assisting with asset transfers;
- Planning charitable contributions;
- Ensuring that you have information about all of your options;
- Protecting your family;
- And many others!
Schedule A Consultation Today!
When you are ready to begin estate planning, contact Wagner Law. Attorney Brandon K. Wagner will go above and beyond to solve your problems and give you peace of mind. If you are in or near Clarkston, Michigan, call (248) 800-2548 or visit our website for a free consultation.