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Writing a Will

signing a document

It's unfortunate how many people believe that estate planning is only for wealthy people. People at all economic levels benefit from an estate plan. Upon death, an estate plan legally protects and distributes property based on your wishes and the needs of your family and/or survivors with as little tax as possible.

Advance Medical Directives

Everyone faces the possibility that sometime during our lifetime, we may become incapacitated. This often happens when nearing death, but it can also be the result of a temporary condition. Many people assume their spouses or children will automatically be allowed to make financial and/or medical decisions for them, but this is not necessarily true. Advance directives are written documents that tell your doctors what kind of treatment you'll want if you become unable to make medical decisions (for example, if you're in a coma). Forms and laws vary from state to state, so it's a good idea to understand the laws o...More

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

What should I know about wills and estate planning?

  • Upon death, an estate plan legally protects and distributes property based on your wishes and the needs of your family and/or survivors with as little tax as possible.
  • Advance directives are written documents that tell your doctors what kind of treatment you'll want if you become unable to make medical decisions (for example, if you're in a coma).
  • A living will is one type of advance directive that comes into effect when a person is terminally ill.
  • A will is the most practical first step in estate planning; it makes clear how you want your property to be distributed after you die.
  • An executor is the person who is responsible for settling the estate after death.
  • If you are active online you should consider creating a statement of how you would like your online identity to be handled, like a social media will.
  • Probate is a legal process that usually involves filing a deceased person's will with the local probate court, taking an inventory and getting appraisals of the deceased's property, paying all legal debts, and eventually distributing the remaining assets and property.
  • A trust is a legal arrangement where one person (the "grantor") gives control of his property to a trust, which is administered by a "trustee" for the "beneficiary's" benefit.
  • A living trust, created while you're alive, lets you control the distribution of your estate. You transfer ownership of your property and your assets into the trust.

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