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Estate Planning

An estate plan ensures that you and your family’s interests are taken care of when you pass away. Although planning your estate can be a daunting task, it can be handled with professionalism and compassion. Although planning during your lifetime may seem stressful, it is far less stressful than leaving your heirs with no plan at all. Attorney Michele A. Biecker has over 30 years of experience and strives to give you practical advise when it comes to estate planning.

Wills

A “Will” or a Last Will and Testament is the document used by most individuals to express their wishes for the distribution of assets at the time of their death. Unless other planning is done, a Will ensures probate may have to be filed. In order to avoid probate certain other estate planning needs to be done. This depends on your assets and how they are currently titled or if there are named beneficiaries. A discussion of your situation with Attorney Biecker would be necessary to determine what other estate planning needs to be done.

Trusts

A Trust is a more in depth method of expressing one’s wishes for assets and liabilities both during life and after death. More control is afforded with a Trust, especially for someone with multiple assets or subsequent marriages in which there are children of more than one marriage. A Trust affords the Trustee the ability to designate in more detail the distribution at death. A Trust also avoids probate and is considered trust administration after death. Prior to death the Trustee has absolute control of the assets to manage as he/she sees fit and may make multiple changes without court interference.

Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of attorney is established so that if one becomes incapacitated during their lifetime and can no longer handle their own financial affairs, someone has been designated their “Agent” to act on their behalf. This avoids the necessity of a Guardianship which is a court action. One should be cautious to appoint someone they trust who will act as their fiduciary. There can be special power of attorney documents for other circumstances as well. Ask Attorney Biecker about your particular situation.

Living Wills

This document informs your loved ones of what you do or do not want done in the event of a terminal illness for which there is no recovery, or you are in a persistent vegetative state from which there is no recovery. This is often referred to as a DNR, but that is a different document that you may be asked to sign. The Living Will can give your loved one the authority to sign a DNR.

Health Care Surrogate & Health Care Power of Attorney

Often referred to as an ADVANCE DIRECTIVE. These documents provide for the appointment of an Agent to make medical decisions for you in the event that you cannot do so and there is a chance of recovery. These documents also permit the Agent to obtain copies of medical records, in addition to authorizing or refusing treatment, surgery and other medical decisions. The Agent will also have the authority to sign a DNR if need be.

Enhanced Life Estate Deed

This document transfers ownership of real estate without probate to the beneficiary at the death of the Grantor. During the Grantor’s lifetime they may still mortgage, sell, pay for maintenance and pay the taxes on the real property just as they have always had the right to do. Title does not pass until death and avoids probate. Beneficiaries cannot interfere with the Grantor’s rights during his/her lifetime.

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Please note that a small fee will be charged for the initial consultation.

Please note that a small fee will be charged for the initial consultation.

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