October is Estate Planning Awareness Month - Here's why it matters.

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     Estate planning is incredibly important in order to provide a secure and determined future for your family and assets. But what does that mean? How does an estate plan provide a secure and determined future? Is estate planning a good fit for everyone? Let's dive into the specifics of what an estate plan is, how it is valuable, and some deals we are providing this month to give back!

Why estate planning is valuable:

     We work very hard during our lives in order to have a comfortable living, not only for ourselves but also for our families. A comfortable living might include a car, home, TV, medications, and much more. Simply put, without an estate plan, all of your important decisions about what to do with your assets, children, health, and more, are left to your local state courts or family to decide what should be done after your passing. If you are incapacitated in the hospital, an estate plan would be used to follow your specific wishes for what type of pain management, medical care, or end-of-life care you would prefer. Without an estate plan, it would be up to your spouse, parents, or adult children to make these decisions. It typically depends on who is most available to answer the call! Even then, your family might not have the same medical wishes for you, which can cause a massive amount of stress and strain in the family. When we say that an estate plan provides you with a secure and determined future, we mean it! You are able to decide the future of your assets and assign who will make important decisions on your behalf.

What's included in an estate plan?

     An estate plan is very flexible, including only the documents you find necessary. A full-service estate plan typically includes a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will (Advance Directive), Final Disposition, and Living/Revocable Trust. In a previous blog, we discussed the duties of just a few pieces of the estate plan, so today, as we overview each piece of the estate plan, some topics of information will be taken from our previous blog How Does an Estate Plan Help During an Emergency 

Will: A Will is a document that details the distribution of property and the care of any minor children. A properly executed Will ensures that the court or state statute will not make decisions on your behalf. During an emergency, having an established will is crucial. Ask yourself, if you experienced a life-or-death emergency today, what would happen to your stuff? Your house? Your car? Who would take care of your minor children or pets? Who will be left with the responsibility of managing your estate and funeral? All of these questions are answered and precisely laid out in a Will.

Power of Attorney & Durable Power of Attorney: Simply stated, a Power of Attorney allows you to designate someone else to manage your financial, legal, or business affairs during an agreed-upon circumstance. For example, an individual living with Alzheimer’s may designate someone to manage their financial, legal, or business interest after experiencing a specific stage of incapacitation. A Durable Power of Attorney ensures that the type of Power of Attorney remains lawful and binding even after incapacitation. Have you invested in stocks or a business venture? If something were to happen to you, what would happen with those investments? Who would ensure they are properly cared for? Many people invest in stocks or business ventures to establish financial security not only for themselves but to provide generational wealth to their families for generations. Without a Power of Attorney, those efforts could go right down the drain. A Power of Attorney is a must-have for those who are interested in providing security for their hard-earned investments.

Healthcare Power of Attorney: Much like a Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney grants a designated individual with decision-making capability. Rather than the decision-making being centered around finances and legal or business affairs, the Medical Power of Attorney grants a trusted individual the ability to make medical-care decisions during a time where you may be debilitated. With a Medical Power of Attorney, you can assign an individual to be responsible for overseeing your specified needs, as well as the extent of their decision-making responsibilities. Health Care Power of Attorneys are a great resolution for families that have differing views on what medical treatment is best for an individual's specific needs. 

Living Will: Living Wills are used to formulate a plan of action for medical care during a time where you might be unconscious or incapacitated. This type of will is used to formulate a plan of action for end-of-life care. Such details include your preferences for or against resuscitation, "pulling the plug", assisted hydration, artificial nutrition, and more. A living will also includes reasonable steps for health care providers to follow to keep you clean, comfortable, and free of pain. This type of Will allows you to maintain your dignity by remaining in control of your preferred medical needs. If you were injured today, who would make those important medical decisions for you? Living Wills provide  the opportunity to decide what medical treatments are best for your end-of-life care and what specific guidelines to follow.

Final Disposition: This document is used to detail an individual's funeral arrangments and what plan-of-action is preferred for the body in the event of a death. Amongst other documents, the final disposition alleviates stress and uncertainty from your family during a time where their ultimate focus should be mourning the loss. The final disposition should be separate from the will in the case of the will being difficult to find and not immediately accessible. Without a final disposition, the funeral arangement responsibilities would directly fall onto a spouse first, child second, and parent third.

Living/Revocable Trust:  Revocable Living Trust and a Living Trust are two terms used to describe the same trust. A revocable living trust is created while you are living and may be altered or revoked at any time. In short, a trust is an agreement amongst three members, the trustor - or person establishing the trust, the beneficiary who will benefit from the trust, and the trustee who will manage and secure the property within the trust. The trustee will closely follow your chosen rules and will act accordingly. This allows flexibility in deciding who, when, and where your property will be disbursed. If an emergency comes your way, a Trust is a valuable option for providing generational wealth to your family. 

What we've got to offer:

For Agents...

     From now until Thanksgiving (2021), Shepard Law will be giving back to the awesome agents and officers who have worked with us! If you are an agent who has done work with us, we are offering a FULL estate plan for only $500! Thats a -87% discount from our usual $3,500 price! To get started on your estate plan, CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE YOUR INFORMATION QUESTIONNAIRE. 

For Young Adults...

     From now until Thanksgiving (2021), we are also offering $250 young adult estate plans to individuals between the ages of 18 and 25! This plan includes a Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, and HIPPA Waiver. To get started on your young adult estate plan, CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE YOUR INFORMATION QUESTIONNAIRE

Get Started Today!

     Once you've completed the questionnaire, email your form to our ESTATE PLANNING COORDINATOR and we will be in touch shortly to schedule your FREE phone consultation!