Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney in Harlan, Iowa
While many think of estate and succession planning as simply the creation of a Will, a thoughtful and effective plan involves securing your own personal situation, passing assets in a meaningful way, reducing costs and taxes, and considering your thoughts and wishes. As your attorney, our goal is to help you consider options, make smart decisions, and establish your confidence and trust.
Estate Planning Process
Our goals and philosophies in developing an estate plan include:
- Financial Security for You and Your Family
- A Fair and Equitable Disposition of Assets to the Next Generation, Based on Your Judgment
- Prevention of Family Fights
- Minimize Administration Costs and Taxes
- An Efficient and Orderly Administration
- Provide You with Control and Protection, as Desired
- Simplicity, to the Extent Possible
Comprehensive estate planning involves the consideration of your goals and wishes, an examination of your assets, liabilities, and expenses, communication with other professionals such as your financial advisers and life insurance agents, and finally, the creation of a package of documents consistent with these background discussions and work.
All of our estate plan packages include the following:
- Last Will and Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney, for financial and property decisions in case of an accident or other incapacity
- Advance Healthcare Directive, for healthcare decisions and directives, in case of an accident or other incapacity
Wills and Revocable Trusts
Using only a Will presents some disadvantages, as assets often must pass through probate. Probate requires a longer administration, court costs, higher attorneys fees, and less privacy.
To counter the disadvantages of probate, we advise many clients and families to create and fund a revocable living trust. Like a will, a revocable living trust is a legal instrument that provides instructions on who receives assets after your death, who is in charge of handling the administration of your assets, and how the administration should take place. Unlike the use of a will, creating and properly funding a revocable living trust avoids probate, provides for management of property and debt during incapacity, and promotes flexibility in administration.