Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the management and disposal of that person’s estate during their life and after death, while minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax. Roughly one half of Americans do not have an estate plan. I & E Planning can help walk you through this process and help minimize as much stress or communication that will be necessary between family members.

When someone does not have a written will, the state (of their residence) has one for them.  One’s healthcare directive (living will), decisions regarding who will have custody of minor children, power of attorney are a few examples of why estate planning is important for people of all ages and economic levels.

Things like the song you want played at your funeral, scriptures to be read, stories to be told, messages to be left for loved ones… your legacy should be written down.

Beneficiary designations may be found on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. It is important to review and update your beneficiary designations to be sure they are exactly as you want them. We help people get access to affordable, quality estate planning documents, record their wishes with storage so that important information will be accessible at the appropriate time.

Are you an executor of an estate?  Download the checklist of things to do when someone dies.

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Who gets what when it’s all over?  Roughly one-third of marriages in the United States form blended families.  From a financial perspective, this can create complications with regard to disagreements over priorities.  Consider a scenario where the husband is diagnosed with dementia and later with Alzheimer’s disease, countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars may be spent for his care.  What impact might this have on his children and stepchildren?  Will his kids have to wait for their step-mother to die before they inherit their money? We can help you navigate these hard questions.

Living will scenario: Terri Schiavo worked as an insurance clerk in Florida. She reportedly collapsed in her home in February of 1990, suffered massive brain damage due to lack of oxygen, and was in a coma for over two months before her diagnosis was changed to a persistent vegetative state. In 1998, Terri’s husband petitioned the court to discontinue life-prolonging measures. Legal challenges from Terri’s parents caused a seven-year delay before her feeding tube was ultimately removed. Her life ended in 2005 at the age of forty-one. The story is compelling and an example of why someone should be motivated to get their medical directive, living will in place. Don’t put it off any longer.  Once it is too late, then it is too late.  There is too much at stake to leave things to chance.

Who will speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself? A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the power to act in your place.  In case you ever become mentally incapacitated, you’ll need what are known as durable powers of attorney for medical care and finances.

Did you know that a will is a public document?  After the testator passes away, their will is filed with the probate court to begin settling their estate.  Trusts provide privacy.  There are many reasons why a trust may be useful in your planning.  Start a conversation today about your particular circumstances to determine whether a trust is right for you and if so, what type.