Everyone has an estate which is represented by all you own, either now or at the date of your passing.
Readers will often hear the words “Estate Planning” and wonder how they relate to their Will. A Will is just one part of a person’s effective Estate Plan.
In addition to standard “giving” clauses, a Will may include a Testamentary Trust to make provision for, say, a child who is injured and not able to look after himself/herself after you pass on. It will cover off who will be Guardian of your children when they are minors. It should make provision for such things as the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability, or death. Key man insurance often features prominently. These sorts of issues may require some documents to be signed with your co-shareholders in the business.
Our approach is to also include in an Estate Plan an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Enduring Guardian, which are documents that cover you during your life in relation to being able to have someone manage your financial and health matters, in the event that you become of unsound mine, or simply unable to look after yourself, for whatever reason. These documents are material to what your estate will represent at your passing, when your Will comes into effect.
We also address with clients the need, during their lives, to include life insurance to provide for their family at their death, disability income insurance to replace their income if they cannot work due to illness or injury, and long-term care insurance to help pay for their care, in case of an extended illness or injury. We refer clients to their insurance agents and work in conjunction with them.
Finally, establishing an Estate Plan is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over your lifetime.