FAQs -- ESTATE PLANNING - HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES & PROBATES

Click on any of the questions for the answer.

Estate planning is the process involving the counsel of professional advisers to cover the transfer of property at death.

Estate planning allows you to ensure that your family and financial goals are met at incapacity or after your death.

-A will -A durable power of attorney -A living will or advance medical directive -And for some people it also includes a trust

Taking an inventory of or assets including investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, real estate, business interests, and your personal property. Ask yourself whom do you want to inherit your assets. Ask yourself whom do you want making medical decisions if you become unable to make them yourself. Ask yourself whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you’re ever incapacitated.

A Will, also referred to as a “Last Will and Testament”, tells the world exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It allows you to name guardians for your minor children and allows you to designate who will carry out your instructions in your will.

A will only becomes effective after it is admitted by a probate court upon your death.

A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to carry on your financial affairs if you become unable to do it yourself. It can take effect immediately or in the future upon your subsequent disability.

A living will or advanced health care directive allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you in the if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. It also allows you to indicate what medical treatment you do or do not want in the future.

A Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO) is a form or patient identification device developed by the Department of Health to identify people who do not wish to be resuscitated in the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest.

A DNRO deals specifically with the refusal of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event of cardiac or pulmonary arrest. It is a physician’s order, signed and dated. Living wills, or any advanced directive, deal with a broader spectrum of end of life related issues.

Do Not Resuscitate Order forms are generally used by someone who is suffering from a terminal condition, end-stage condition or is in a persistent vegetative state.

Probate is the legal process of administering your estate at death.

Intestate means dying without a will. If someone dies intestate then their estate is administered according to state law.

Trusts are legal mechanisms that let you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay and publicity of probate court, which administers wills. Some also offer greater protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits.

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