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June 24th, 2012
It is important to remember that estate planning is not just for the elderly or those who are wealthy. Any person could benefit from taking the time to establish a plan should that person become incapacitated or die prematurely, especially if that person has children. What most people probably do not understand is that estate planning does not have to be a complicated process. In fact, most members of generation X will probably only need a few basic documents, such as a will, trust, power of attorney, and a health care proxy.
A will is needed because it provides an overview of how a person wants his or her property distributed at death. Wills are also important because a person can nominate a person to become a guardian for his or her children within a will. A person could also create a revocable trust if a person does want to draft a will. A trust is a relationship that is established by a trust instrument, and it holds assets for a person’s benefit while that person is alive. In addition, a trust can be established to distribute assets to a designated person after the settlor, the person who established the trust, or a beneficiary dies. Unlike a will, the property within the trust will not pass through the probate process. A health care proxy is important because it establishes what person the creator wants to make health care decisions should that person become unable to make those decisions for themselves. A power of attorney is important because it establishes the person that the creator of the instrument wants to make financial decision on his or her behalf should that person become incapacitated.
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