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Estate Plan

This document does not discuss in detail the need to plan for one’s passing even if one is young.  Death can strike us at any time.  Even if your property holdings (your estate) are relatively small, the law still needs to distribute your property to your heirs.  You can 1) prepare a will that directs who should  receive your property upon your death or 2) allow the law to apply the intestate succession statute, that is, a state law that directs who should receive your property upon your death if you do not have a will.

 

  • A will for a single person with limited holdings can be a relatively simple document.  Persons can prepare a will for themselves as long as it is in their own handwriting, but consider spending the cash to have a professional prepare even a simple will. 
  • Be ready to update your will throughout your life time as you marry, have a family, heirs (such as your parents) pass on or do not need your property, or any such changes that are likely to occur. 
  • If you decide to rely on the intestate succession statute, your property will likely pass to your surviving spouse if you are married at the time of your death.  If you are single at the time of your death, the intestate succession statute is likely to direct that your property transfer to your parents.

 

Living will or Health Care Directive – a document in which you indicate how you want to be cared for if you are unable to make or communicate that decision for yourself.

 

Power of Attorney – a document in which you designate and grant someone authority to conduct business affairs on your behalf during your lifetime.  The power of attorney can be used if you are unable or unavailable to make necessary business/financial decisions.  A power of attorney terminates at your death or mental incapacity; a durable power of attorney remains in force even after your death or mental incapacity.

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