Estate planning is the process by which you anticipate your future needs and those of your family, as well as the documents you direct your attorney to draft for you that will provide for those needs. Estate planning is likewise the way you protect your assets during your lifetime and at and after your death so you can avoid probate and minimize the income, gift and inheritance taxes your estate will need to pay.
Your estate consists of everything you own at your death, including the following:
- Checking and savings account balances
- Stocks, bonds and other securities
- Life insurance policy proceeds
- Real estate
- Personal property, such as vehicles, jewelry, antiques, etc.
Minimum Estate Plan
Whatever your age, marital status or amount of wealth, if you live anywhere in the Louisville area, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney Louisville KY to draft at least a Last Will and Testament and a medical power of attorney for you. Why? Because if you die without a will, the intestacy laws of Kentucky will determine who inherits your assets.
As for a medical power of attorney, this document becomes crucial if you suffer a debilitating injury or illness that makes it impossible for you to communicate your wishes regarding the types of medical care you want and donâ€™t want. Your medical power of attorney solves that problem because you not only list those things in it in as much detail as you wish, but you also designate someone as your attorney-in-fact to follow those directions, plus make any other medical decisions for you in the event you cannot make them yourself.
Additional Estate Planning Documents
Many people also include one or more of the following additional documents in their estate plan:
- Revocable living trust(s)
- Irrevocable trust
- Special needs trust for a special needs child
- Financial power of attorney
All in all, wise estate planning will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you have provided for yourself and your family no matter what happens in the future.