Planning your estate is one of the ways you can take care of your loved ones, especially when you are either incapacitated or have passed away. Estate planning ensures that all your affairs, primarily financial and medical matters, are in order and will not burden your loved ones during a challenging and vulnerable time. Moreover, estate planning allows you to determine precisely how your assets will be distributed to your intended beneficiaries without the intervention of the courts.
Here are some key terms in estate planning that could be valuable to someone planning their estate without the assistance of a lawyer:
A will is a legal decree that enumerates a decedent's wishes on how they wish their
assets to be distributed at the time of their passing. This legal document also appoints
an executor of the will, who would put the language of the will into effect.
Generally, the executor would be offering the will for probate, ensuring the protection
of the estate's assets, distributing the property to the beneficiaries according to the
will, and paying the debts and taxes owed by the estate.
Probate is the judicial process where the court has to validate the will. If the will is not
validated, or if there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the distribution of your assets according to the state's intestacy laws.
A trust is a tool that creates a fiduciary relationship where a trustor grants a trustee
the authority to handle and manage assets to benefit a specific person or purpose.
● Power of Attorney
This is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act
for the person who executed the document. The person granted the power is called
the agent, while the person presenting the authority is called the principal.
The scope of the power endowed to another person depends on the kind of power
of attorney they are granted. Generally, there are three types of power of attorney:
General Power of Attorney: This provides broad powers to the agent to act on behalf of the principal within the confines of the state's laws. More so, this kind grants an agent the authority to handle all matters affecting the principal, including, but not limited to, financial, medical, and personal affairs.
Limited Power of Attorney: This provides a limited scope of power to the agent regarding the principal's affairs. The language in the document would include specific matters in which the agent has been granted authority for the principal.
Durable Power of Attorney: This grants the agent's authority to continue even after the principal is incapacitated.
● Advance Health Directives
An advance health directive is a legal decree specifying an individual's decisions on
what medical course of action should be done if they are incapacitated or too ill to
make or express their decision.
Advance health or medical directive is also known as a living will, medical directive,
or personal directive.
● Qualified Domestic Relation Order (QDRO)
A qualified domestic relation order (QDRO) is a legal document that grants another
person to collect another's a retirement plan, whether in whole or partial,
depending on the language of the decree.
Valiant Legal Document Assistants, a Valiant Virtual Paralegals, LLC division, is a company you can trust to help with the estate planning situation. Our goal is to provide the estate planning services you need anytime. For a free consultation, feel free to contact them anytime.