Delaware Estate Planning
Estate planning can involve much more than simply determining how to distribute your property after you die. It can also help you plan for medical emergencies, make plans for your minor children if you pass away, help you preserve your wealth for later in life, and minimize the federal and Delaware estate taxes your estate will pay after you die. An estate planning attorney can help you determine which estate planning tools are right for you.
Common Estate Planning Tools
If you know anything about estate planning, you're probably most familiar with the last will and testament. This legal document is used to explain how you'd like your assets (such as real estate, money and personal property) distributed after you die. You'll also name an executor, or person responsible for managing your estate's distribution, in your will.
But estate planning can involve much more than simply a will. Among the other common estate planning tools:
- A power of attorney lets you authorize someone else (known as an attorney in fact) to sign legal documents on your behalf and access your financial accounts. The power of attorney document can be useful in a number of situations. For example, it would come in handy if you're buying or selling real estate, but are out of town on the day of the closing. Many people also name a trusted family member as their attorney in fact so the attorney in fact can pay bills and move money if their family member is incapacitated. A power of attorney ceases to be effective upon your death.
- A healthcare power of attorney allows you to designate someone (known as your healthcare surrogate) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you're incapacitated. This document authorizes the healthcare surrogate to meet with your doctors to discuss your medical care, talk to your health insurance provider and help determine the course of your treatment.
- A living will is a document used to explain your end-of-life wishes. In a living will, you can explain whether you want doctors to use lifesaving measures such as CPR and artificial resuscitation and whether you want to be fed using a feeding tube.
- A trust is a legal entity you can create that can take ownership of your assets while you're alive and then distribute those assets, per your instructions, to your heirs after you pass away. Many people prefer trusts in place of or in addition to wills because the assets can be distributed more quickly and more privately than a will, which must go through the probate process.
Find & Hire Local Delaware Estate Planning Attorneys
Attorneys.com's free lawyer referral service can quickly connect you with estate planning attorneys in Wilmington, Dover, Newark and elsewhere in Delaware. To get started, fill out the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. After you answer a few brief questions, we'll match you with an estate planning lawyer in your area.