Estate and Prenuptial Planning
Every adult should have three documents: a durable power of attorney; an advance medical directive; and a last will and testament. These documents need to be prepared while the adult is competent.
A power of attorney authorizes someone to act on your behalf. A general power of attorney covers your property and finances. It allows your agent to access your accounts to pay your bills, sell your real property, and make purchases on your behalf. It is effective only while you are alive; it is not a substitute for a will. If a person becomes incompetent and does not have a power of attorney, family members must petition the court to have a conservator appointed for the incapacitated person. The court process results in a time delay, additional expenses, and a duty to file accountings.
An advance medical directive covers your person. This directive authorizes someone to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so. It is effective only while you are alive. If a person becomes incompetent without having an advance medical directive, family members must petition the court to have a guardian appointed for the incapacitated person.
A last will and testament saves expense in the settlement of your estate. You can specify who receives what items of your property, who handles the settlement of your estate, who handles funds held in trust for a minor beneficiary, and under what restrictions can trust funds be used for the beneficiary.
Contact our office to learn how we can help with your estate planning needs.
Read more: “Estate Planning”
A prenuptial agreement doesn’t seem very romantic. It is difficult to talk about—and can even be somewhat emotional. However, for most folks who are contemplating marriage, it is essential. Many marriages and committed relationships end in divorce, without a happily-ever-after. That is the unfortunate reality.
A prenuptial agreement is just plain practical. Going into the partnership, it also shows consideration and responsibility for the partner and for oneself. It shows consideration because it can spare a couple the messier and emotional aspects of divorce – the division of property and issues of support. It also can serve as an operating agreement during the marriage to help govern the handling of finances. Further, it shows responsibility for many aspects of life together, including the protection of children who came from prior relationships, protection of inheritance funds, protection of prior separate assets, and, most importantly, protection of one’s financial independence. Marriage is not just an emotional commitment, but a legal one — why not legally spell out the financial obligations in advance?
Contact our office to learn how we can help with your prenuptial planning needs.