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Estate Planning Archives

How should I handle sentimental items in my estate plan?

Coming up with a plan to divide up assets such as jewelry, artwork, or family heirlooms in your will can be hard if you don't know what something is or what it's worth. What you may hold near and dear may be starkly different from the items someone else values. One way to ensure that your wishes for these items are honored is for you to address them in your estate plan.

What should you look for when selecting an executor of an estate?

One of the first decisions that you'll have to make during the estate planning process is deciding who you want to serve as executor. While you may be inclined to appoint a family member to this role, doing so can sometimes cause more harm than good. Some may choose to appoint a good friend, attorney or financial planner, depending on their jurisdiction's laws. Whomever you choose should have certain attributes.

Milestones in life that should trigger a review of your will

The time comes in one's life when a will is necessary. Don't wait until this moment to run frantically to your attorney's office to have this important legal document drafted. It will likely be too late. Let's take a look at the milestones in life that should trigger a review of your will so that it is always updated for where you are in life right now.

All adults should have a health care power of attorney in place

As minors, our parents retain the decision-making power over choices regarding our health, but as soon as most of us turn 18, this ability goes out of the window. As adults, the decision becomes ours alone to decide whether we pursue certain treatment options and what ones those are unless we have a health care power of attorney (H-POA) drafted for us.

The hardest part of estate planning is not what you may expect

Although it's fairly commonplace to see stories in the news or on television about how things can go wrong at the end of life without an estate plan being in place, there are still an estimated 55 to 65 percent of Americans who don't have even in a will in place. Many don't because they think they don't have enough assets to leave behind for anyone. Others think estate planning is too complex.

A special needs trust should be carefully administered

If someone in your home receives government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because they're either physically or mentally impaired, then it's likely that you've heard a special needs trust. While government programs like Medicaid are intended to cover an individual's basic needs, they don't cover "creature comforts" that we'll all come to enjoy having access to.

What estate planning documents are essential to have drafted?

Our lives are not infinite. They can end unexpectedly in a mere instant. Unless we have certain end-of-life documents properly executed and easily accessible by our family members, our loss may not only result in creating an emotional void in our loved one's lives, but a financial one as well.

Factors to consider when setting up a special needs trust

If you take care of someone with special needs, then it's important for you to start thinking about how you'd like him or her to be taken care of in the future if something were to happen to you. It's particularly important that if he or she either plans to or is already receiving government benefits, that a special needs trust (SNT) be set up to ensure that can happen.