You may be married, divorced, re-married, single, have children or not, have a biological or blended family, have a life partner or a chosen family. Regardless, you truly and deeply care about the people in your life and want to make things as easy as possible for them if something happens to you. The protection of life and legacy planning is for all individuals and families who have anyone and anything they care about.


    Many people start their estate planning when they have children. The naming of a Guardian and Successor to raise minor children is of critical importance. It is equally important to name a Trustee and Successor to manage the financial affairs of minor children. Their property should be held in trust until specified ages, we commonly provide for the following distributions: 1/3 at age 25, 1/2 at age 30 and the balance at age 35.


    Once you are gone, the surviving parent will be entitled to custody of your children unless their parental rights have been terminated or there is no other parent involved. In the latter case, you will want to name a guardian. You can name someone other than the surviving parent to handle your children's financial affairs regarding the property you leave them.


    No matter how close or friendly you think your current spouse and your children are, conflict may be unavoidable among them upon your death, unless you have planned carefully. A common plan has the jointly-owned property go to the children of the marriage and separately-owned property to go to the children of the owner of that separate property. Life insurance is also commonly used to create an additional asset and go in a different direction than the rest of the property.


    Estate planning is particularly crucial for those in an unmarried relationship with a life partner or companion, especially if one partner owns a house. It's common for the homeowner to grant their partner a life estate, permitting them to reside in the home for their lifetime, and then stipulate that the property will pass to the homeowner's children if they have them.


    Seniors should plan for the possibility of incapacity by using Durable Powers of Attorney to appoint trusted individuals to make decisions regarding property, financial matters, and healthcare. Additionally, a Health Care Directive is necessary for those who do not wish to be kept alive artificially. Furthermore, seniors need to create an estate plan to protect one another and to ensure their property is passed on to their children and potentially grandchildren after death. Charitable giving may also be an important part of one's legacy. It's also important for seniors to engage in long-term care planning. Those services are described in the Elder Law Care section under the WHAT WE OFFER page.

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