Estate Planning: An Overview
Estate planning allows an individual to plan for his or her lifetime objectives and to provide direction about the disposition of his or her assets after death. Estate planning can include wills and trusts as well as powers of attorney and healthcare directives. Estate planning is impacted by state and federal law, and any individual may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary for his or her situation. Some of these more complex techniques include trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs).
An estate planning lawyer from McDevitt Law Firm in Vienna, VA, can be an essential ally in assuring that your estate planning goals are understood and carried out. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call Lisa Lane McDevitt today to schedule a consultation.
Estate Planning Basic Documents
Because estate planning allows an individual to ensure that his or her property will go to the people he or she wants, in the way he or she wants and when he or she wants, it is important for everyone, even if an estate is likely to be small, to have an estate plan. An estate plan can help to reduce tax liabilities, court costs and attorneys fees, and it can also make it easier for families to cope with the administrative and financial issues that arise after the loss of family members.
Estate plans should typically include at least two important estate planning instruments: a durable power of attorney and a will. A durable power of attorney is a document that authorizes a person to make decisions for a person who has become incapacitated, including decisions about the incapacitated person’s property. A will is a document that sets out the plan to distribute a person’s property after her or his death.
Documents relating to medical care can also be part of an estate plan. Documents to consider include a medical directive (also called an advance directive, a physician’s directive, a written directive or a durable power of attorney for healthcare) to designate a person to make healthcare decisions for a person who has become incapacitated; a healthcare proxy (also called a proxy directive) to designate a person to make healthcare decisions regardless of a person’s incapacity; and a living will to express a person’s desire regarding the use of extraordinary measures to extend her or his life when there is no reasonable expectation of recovery.
Estate Planning and Financial Goals
Estate planning can help to identify and plan for financial needs during life and after death. Financial needs to consider include retirement income, college funding, replacement income following an unforeseen illness or disability and the needs of surviving family members. To meet these financial goals and to ensure appropriate utilization of assets during life and orderly and efficient distribution of assets after death, an estate plan may include making gifts to individuals and charities during life, purchasing life insurance, using revocable and irrevocable trusts, purchasing annuities and rearranging personal and business interests. In addition to federal gift and estate taxes, state inheritance taxes, which vary from state to state, must also be considered to meet financial objectives.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer
Asset protection strategies, healthcare directives, powers of attorney and other estate planning devices are an integral part of the services that an estate planning attorney can provide. If you have questions about estate planning, contact an estate planning attorney at Lisa Lane McDevitt in Vienna, VA, to schedule a consultation.