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What Are the Two Major Parts of Estate Planning?

 Posted on May 17, 2022 in Estate Planning / Probate

Geneva estate planning attorney Estate planning means more than just writing your will. While a good estate plan may certainly include a will, there is a lot more to it than that. Testamentary planning - deciding what should happen to your property after you pass away - is an important part of estate planning. When most people think of estate planning, they are really thinking only about testamentary planning. Incapacity planning is an equally important part of estate planning.

Incapacity planning allows you to prepare for the possibility that you could become incapacitated in your own lifetime as is common in old age. No estate plan is complete until both parts have been thoroughly addressed. The exact types of documents you will need to accomplish both goals depends on your own personal situation and preferences. It is best to work with a qualified attorney to develop a complete estate plan. 

What is Testamentary Planning?

Testamentary planning is the part of estate planning where you decide how your property should be distributed after you pass on. It is important to do this even if it is emotionally challenging. If you pass away without having a testamentary plan, state law determines who gets what and your family will have to go through the notoriously difficult intestate probate process. 

You will probably use either a trust, a will, or both in your testamentary plan. Most people now prefer trusts, as they allow your beneficiaries to bypass probate. Trusts also offer you a bit more flexibility and control so you can make distributions over time. 

What is Incapacity Planning?

Incapacity planning is the part of estate planning that lets you make certain decisions about how you would like to be cared for and who should manage your affairs in the event that you become incapacitated. Living wills and other advance directives can be used to let you express your wishes directly. You can make choices like whether you would like to receive life-prolonging care in the event of a terminal illness. 

Powers of attorney are used to designate other people who could manage your affairs should you become unable to. Most people use a financial power of attorney to select someone who could do things like pay their bills or manage their social security benefits, and also a health care power of attorney to appoint someone they trust to make medical decisions for them. 

Incapacity planning allows your current, competent self to make choices in advance for your future, incapacitated self rather than relying on others to do so. 

Contact a Kane County Estate Planning Lawyer

DLAW, PC excels at creating customized and thorough estate plans. Our skilled Geneva estate planning attorneys will help you create a strong estate plan that includes both a testamentary plan and an incapacity plan. Call 331-222-7978 for a free consultation. 




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