THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU PLAN YOUR ESTATE
Planning for a will, trust, durable power of attorney, or advance
directive (which can include medical instructions and the appointment of an agent for health care decisions) is a very personal
matter. The following items are things you might want to consider before meeting with an attorney. During the meeting,
you should expect to discuss your circumstances and your particular needs so documents can be prepared specifically for you.
Remember: Planning now is one of the best things you can do for your loved ones.
WILLS AND TRUSTS
Consider what property you own and its value, as well as any debts
you have. Is your property jointly owned with others? In what way? Don't overlook these assets:
Real estate and vacation homes;
Money or debts owed to you;
Stocks, bonds, and securities;
Interests in a business;
Patents or copyrights;
Potential auto accident or lawsuit awards;
Pensions, profit sharing, employee benefits, IRA's and retirement
Life insurance you have on your life or on another person's life;
Powers of appointment (the right to assign property to someone);
Personal property, including cars, boats, jewelry, furs, furniture,
When you die, who do you want to inherit your property? Where do
they live? Do you have any special items you would want to go to specific people? If those people died before you, what would
you want to happen to the property?
Who are your immediate family members? Do you have other people who
depend on you for support, such as parents or step-children? Do you have children from other relationships? Do any of your
loved ones require special care? Do you have any outstanding obligations relating to a divorce?
If you have minor children, who would you want to be their guardian(s)
to raise them if you die? Who would you want to manage any money and property you leave for them? (Who would be your second
choice?) Have you talked to those people and are they willing to do those things, if necessary? If you want a married couple
to be the guardians, would you want a different arrangement if the couple divorced or if one member of the couple died?
Do you specifically want to exclude someone from receiving property
under your will?
Who would you want to manage your affairs after your death--to handle
distributing your property, paying taxes, doing paperwork, and other things Personal Representatives or Executors do? If that
person died before you or didn't want to do it, who would you want?
Have you made any large gifts (over $10,000 per year) to anyone?
If so, have you ever filed a federal gift tax return? Does your estate exceed $1 million in value, including life insurance
and retirement funds?
Do you have any special arrangements or requests concerning your
funeral or burial?
DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY
FOR FINANCIAL PURPOSES
If you become unable to manage your financial affairs, who would
you want to handle your affairs for you? If that person was unable or unwilling to do it, who would you want to do those things?
Would you want that person to be able to do almost anything you could
normally do, including selling your real estate and property, paying your bills, and managing all your assets? When would
you want that person to be able to do those things--now or only at a time when you would be unable to manage your financial
(INCLUDING LIVING WILLS AND
APPOINTMENTS OF A HEALTH CARE AGENT)Do
you want to have a document that sets forth your wishes for medical care in case you become unable to make those decisions?
If so, consider what kinds of treatments you would want if you are
terminally ill or have other serious medical problems. Would you want life-sustaining procedures performed? Would you want
food and water to be given to you by artificial means? If you are a woman, would you want your decisions changed if you were
Would you want someone else to be able to make decisions for you?
If so, who? If that person was unable or unwilling to serve, who would you want to make the decisions? Is there anything in
particular you would or would not want that person to be able to do?
These questions are intended to help you consider matters which might
need to be addressed in your estate planning. If you have questions and concerns about your estate planning, you should discuss
them with your attorney. It is important for you to understand your estate planning options and be comfortable with the plans