“Estate Planning for Major Life Events” by Attorney Victor A. Lembo
Estate planning strategies evolve with time through all stages of life. The focus at Sinclair Prosser Gasior is to help people structure their affairs in preparation of various life events.. When the client is starting out, we may help them establish a basic plan which may include:
- A Financial General Durable Power of Attorney. This would allow someone to make financial decisions for them if they were unable to make them for themselves.
- A Health Care Directive, including a Health Care Power of Attorney to allow others to make medical decisions for them if unable to do so for themselves. Also, this might include a Living Will, expressing the client’s wishes regarding end-of-life decisions.
- A HIPAA Authorization which gives certain people, such as the aforementioned fiduciaries or family members, access to protected health information.
- A Revocable Trust. This would allow for a more seamless management of assets during incapacity and would avoid probate in the event of death.
As the client matures, we might draft a more robust plan including:
- Business Entities. These entities could provide structure for the management of a business and insulate the client’s personal assets from the creditors of the business.
- Charitable Giving. There are many ways to give charitably to maximize the tax savings and the impact of the gift. This would include Charitable Remainder Trusts and other strategies, such as the contribution of appreciated assets.
- Leaving a Legacy. This might include charitable entities such as a private foundation to further philanthropic goals long after the client is gone. Also, it may be as simple as helping the client preserve family stories and passing along the history which makes each person unique.
As the client nears end of life, we might come full circle and counsel them regarding:
- Updates. It is important to update the plan periodically in light of changing circumstances, and is particularly important as the client nears the end of life.
- End-of-Life decisions. Clients may want to revisit the choices they have made regarding their health directives. They will want to consider the best choice for a health care agent and determine who shares their values to carry out their wishes.
Sinclair Prosser Gasior counsels clients in all stages of life, and helps with decisions about financial matters that impact future generations. And one of the most important things we do is to help the client and their family face the end of life with the peace of mind to know they have taken care of their affairs.
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