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[   Introduction   |   Wills & Trusts   |   Estate Planning Terms   |   Getting Started   ]


Estate planning is just that; planning! It is a process that involves legal, tax and financial advisors. A proper estate plan allows you to:

  • Plan for the orderly distribution of your estate after your death with the least amount of difficulty for your loved ones,
  • Minimize or avoid estate tax,
  • Avoid probate,
  • Nominate the person who will serve as guardian for your minor children if you are incapacitated or die,
  • Establish special trusts for the benefit of a disabled child,
  • Nominate the person who will handle your financial affairs in the event you are incapacitated, and/or
  • Nominate the person who will make medical decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated.

Estate planning is accomplished through the execution of various documents including, but not limited to, trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney, advanced health care directives and property agreements.Estate planning is a dynamic process. Changes in the law, you and your estate may require you to adjust your estate plan every so often to reflect those changes.

Wills & Trusts

  • Wills A will is a document that sets forth how you wish to distribute your estate after your death. Wills become irrevocable at your death. In your will, you can nominate conservators for yourself should the need arise and/or nominate guardians for minor children. The probate process is required for the administration of a will.   More info…
  • Trusts: A trust is a written legal agreement between the person creating the trust (commonly known as the “settlor”, “trustor” or “grantor”) and the person or entity named to manage the assets held in the trust (the “trustee”). Most often, the settlor is the initial trustee of his or her living trust, until management assistance is anticipated or required.   More info…

Durable Powers of AttorneyA durable power of attorney is a document wherein you empower someone to make decisions for you regarding your real property, personal property and financial affairs when either you chose to no longer do so or you are incapable of doing so. Durable powers of attorney can be either “springing” (come into effect when you become incapacitated) or “immediate” (come into effect immediately upon execution).

Advance Health Care Directives

An advance health care directive is like a durable power of attorney except that it deals primarily with medical decisions and related issues such as disposition of remains and organ donation. Agents nominated in an advance health care directive have broad powers to make health care decisions related to both your physical and mental care, including refusal or withdrawal of life support systems.

Letters of Intent

A letter of intent is a document written by a parent, guardian or family member that describes your child, his or her history, his or her current medical/mental status and your wishes with respect to the future care of that child. Letters of intent, while not legally biding documents, speak to the plans and goals you have for your child in the event that you are unable to do so.