estate planning

Support and guidance through fundamental estate planning issues, including guardianship for your children, as well as medical, financial and end-of-life directives should you become disabled. In fact, there are many things that you can do now that won't change your life one bit.

1. PUT A GUARDIANSHIP IN PLACE FOR MINOR AND DISABLED CHILDREN

Every family should establish a guardianship plan for dependent children in the event of the untimely death or incapacitation of one or both parents. The issue becomes that much more urgent if any of the children have special needs, such as developmental disabilities or chronic medical conditions, because they will require such care well past 21 years of age. Special attention must be paid to providing this type of financial support leveraging components such as special needs trusts, life insurance, government programs and charitable organizations.

2. MAKE SURE THAT MEDICAL AND END-OF-LIFE DECISIONS CAN BE MADE IF YOU ARE DISABLED

You can assign a health care proxy now in the event you can not make your own medical decisions. You can leave clear instructions directing the health care proxy and others regarding your wishes around issues such as hospice care, organ donation and what measures you do and don't want taken to keep you alive.

3. MAKE SURE FINANCIAL DECISIONS CAN BE MADE IF YOU ARE DISABLED

Assign executors and trustees, along with appropriate powers-of-attorney and authorizations to act on your behalf in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

4. ELIMINATE THE COSTS, DELAYS, AND HASSLES OF PROBATE AND SPELL OUT IN DETAIL WHO INHERITS YOUR ESTATE

A Last Will and Testament drafted by an attorney who is admitted to your state's bar is the best protection against the chaos that can ensue after your death.

5. PROTECT YOUR HEIR'S INHERITANCES AGAINST LAWSUITS, DIVORCES AND/OR THEMSELVES

Your will can be structured in such a way as to minimize the risk against lawsuits, unintended beneficiaries and family in-fighting triggered by ambiguities in your wishes.

6. ELIMINATE OR LOWER ESTATE TAXES

Estate taxes are possibly the leading cause of your money not winding up where you originally intended it.

7. PROTECT ASSETS FROM LONG TERM CARE COSTS

Long-term care insurance covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. These expenses would otherwise come from your savings or even cause the liquidation of non-cash assets.