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Issues which can be addressed in conjunction with your estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Probate & Estate Planning

In addition to the preparation and execution of a will and/or any associated trusts for the distribution and management of your financial estate after your death, estate planning provides an opportunity to address other concerns.

If you are a parent of minor children, you may name in your Will your choice of guardian to care for your child or children in the event that you and the child’s other parent should pass away during a child’s minority.  This choice will generally be honored by the Probate Court or other appropriate venue, unless there is a reason not to do so based upon the best interest of the child(ren).

Funeral and burial or cremation wishes can be pre-arranged and/or pre-paid. Such wishes may be documented in writing on a separate document duly authenticated by witness(es) or a notary, or may be included in one’s health care directives document.  It is not recommended to include this in your will, as your will may not be viewed prior to funeral services.  Documenting your choices may alleviate disputes among family and friends who may not all agree on the same choices, or with your choices.

The occasion of your estate planning is a good time to document any business succession planning you may have put off in the past.  Your business or business interests may be an essential component of your estate and an important asset for you to consider the succession of.  Do you  need to document buy-out provisions for a privately -owned business?  How will the current co-owners be affected once you pass away?  How will major employees be affected?  Will your interest be bought out by surviving co-owners and if so, how will your interest be evaluated and how will the co-owners pay your estate?

You may consider potential lifetime needs for assistance.  This may include the appointment of an Attorney-in-Fact, someone whom you appoint during your lifetime and grant authority to act in your stead.  This person may assist you at your behest when convenient for you, and may become indispensable if you suffer mental or physical deficits as you age.  It is important to consider while you are well whether you have someone whom you are able to trust and depend on to this extent, and if so, to sign a written Power of Attorney authorizing him or her to act on your behalf.

Many people will prepare and execute a “Living Will” or “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care,” or other similar document.  Such a document should state the parameters of your health care wishes and, in the case of health care power of attorney, name a person to act as your health care agent to ensure such wishes are followed, in the event that you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself.  Such a document is important in the event that you become physically or mentally unable to make and communicate health care decisions on your own.

During your estate planning and as an integral part thereof, retitling of real property and/or financial assets may be required in order to accomplish your estate plan.  This is another important topic to discuss with your attorney when preparing your estate plan.