Sometimes when people hear the words “asset protection” or “estate planning” they think those terms do not apply to them. They may think estates are only for the wealthy, or that only the rich have assets. But everyone has an estate. Your estate is made up of everything you own – home, vehicles, any investment accounts, insurance policies, furniture, jewelry, and all personal possessions.
Studies show more than half of Americans die without a will or having an estate plan in place. People often think they aren’t old enough to consider having a will. Unfortunately, the unexpected does happen – illnesses and accidents do occur. It is not enough to let your loved ones know what your wishes are. A well-thought and careful process will ensure your wishes are carried out how, when, and by whom you choose. If you die without an intentional estate plan, any assets you may have will be distributed according to probate law. If you have children and both parents die (for example, in a car accident), the courts will appoint a guardian they deem appropriate.
Estate Planning also takes into account other important documents such as Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxies. The Power of Attorney is a legal document delegating financial authority from the person who signs (“principal”) to another person(s) of their choosing (“agent”). The Power of Attorney will grant rights of your choosing to your agent(s), such as, real estate purchases, banking transactions, investment decisions, etc. This document, however, will be inoperable when the principal passes away. This is why a will and Health Care Proxy are also important. The Health Care Proxy allows you to appoint another person (“proxy”) to make health care decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them or cannot speak for yourself. These decisions can include the use of feeding tubes, breathing machines, medications, or termination of life support.
The team at Zea Proukou wants to help you create the best plan to ensure your family is protected. Call us today.