Estate planning is the process to plan for certain death and the possibility of mental incapacity. There are many tools that can be used to develop your estate plan. I will very briefly describe six of them.

First, is the Transfer on Death Deed. This deed allows the property owner to designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries, who will receive the property upon the death of the owner.

Second, is the Testamentary Will. It allows the person who drafted the will to transfer their estate upon their death, select an Executor, and appoint a Guardian for minor children.

Third, is a Land Trust. The land trust company serves as trustee to hold the recorded title to real estate while you retain all rights of ownership as the beneficiary. Although there are annual fees with the land trust, when you pass away, you seamlessly transfer ownership to the person or people you name as successor beneficiaries, without having your estate go through probate.

The fourth estate planning tool is a Revocable Living Trust. This trust is like a land trust, but you are your own trustee, there are no annual fees, it’s more flexible, and it can hold real estate and personal property. You can name your trust as the beneficiary on investments, bank accounts and life insurance policies so that you can dictate when the beneficiary receives the money, and the purposes for which the money can be used.

Unlike the first four tools I just talked about that transfer property upon your death, the fifth tool is to be used while you are alive. This tool is called a Power of Attorney for Health Care. It allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions for you should you be unable to make them yourself. It also allows you to dictate your life sustaining treatment wishes.

The sixth tool, just like the fifth, is to be used while you are alive. It is called a Property Power of Attorney. It allows you to designate someone to make important business decisions on your behalf, like communicating with your bank, the social security administration and other agencies, and creditors.

If you have people or organizations in your life that you care about, have worked hard for what you have and want it distributed per your instruction, and you desire to leave a legacy and help your loved ones avoid drama, call The Evans Williams Law Group to schedule a consultation to discuss your estate plan.

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