In This Edition:
- The Unwed Person’s Guide to Estate Planning
- Get to Know Paralegal Sierra Myers
- Recipe Spotlight
- Complimentary Estate Planning Webinar
The Unwed Person’s Guide to Estate Planning
By Bryce Kaufman, Attorney
It’s a harmful myth that estate planning is only for people who are married or who have children.
Everyone should have an estate plan, although for a variety of reasons. Parents with young children, for example, need an estate plan to appoint someone to care for their minor children or set up a trust for their benefit. Others need an estate plan to minimize their taxes. For unwed people, it can be any combination of reasons while also ensuring their belongings go to those closest to them and they are appropriately taken care of during their lifetime.
Whatever the reason, an estate plan is a necessary tool for everyone because it helps establish control, eliminate or expedite the probate processes, and save money.
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan establishes who will eventually receive your assets and how you want your affairs handled if you cannot handle them on your own for any reason.
An estate plan can help you feel more confident about the future, knowing your loved ones are taken care of and that the legacy you leave behind is the one you want. Failing to create such plans can lead to unintended consequences.
What happens if I die without an estate plan?
If you do not have a will or trust in place, your estate might not go to those who are closest to you. With no will or trust, the laws of Intestate Succession dictate where your estate goes.
Each state has different intestate laws. In Oregon, for example, the intestate succession laws say that the estate first goes to the spouse. And if there is no spouse, then to the children. If there are no children, then to surviving parents. If there are no surviving parents, then equally to brothers and sisters, and so on through the next-of-kin relations (if you know someone in this position, please talk to one of our probate attorneys – they can help!). In summary, dying without an estate plan means that a court will distribute property according to current state laws rather than follow your specific wishes.
Impact of Intestate Succession
When you take the time to create your estate plan, it means you won’t die intestate. Intestate Succession can add tremendous stress to the already difficult time your grieving loved ones face.
If you have a blended family or other unique family dynamics, it can further exasperate the issue and quickly make things more confusing. To illustrate, a blended family might involve a couple raising children from pre-existing relationships that are not biologically or legally related to them. In the event of death, this can lead to unnecessary conflict between stepchildren and stepparents in the wake of a tragic loss or unintentionally cutting out children from an estate altogether.
Planning for Incapacity
Estate Planning is not only about having a plan that deals with the distribution of your property and assets after your death. It is also about having an arrangement in place to deal with what happens if you become incapacitated.
Incapacity caused by an accident, sudden illness, or injury means you are incapable of making informed decisions about your well-being and finances. In many circumstances, without an incapacity plan in place, a loved one cannot immediately make decisions on your behalf without court intervention. A judge can appoint someone to take control of your assets and make decisions for you through a court-appointed guardian. Guardianships can be expensive and time-consuming.
Incapacity planning allows you to take control of the situation now, while you are healthy, to make your wishes clear and ensure they are honored.
Establishing Your Estate Plan
The good news is that if you are at least 18 years of age, we can help you set up your estate plan.
An excellent place to start is to take inventory of your assets. You will want to compile a list of your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, business interests, and real estate holdings. It is important for you to understand your applicable state and federal tax situation and recognize that federal estate tax exemption changes regularly. But please don’t worry. We are well versed in this arena and can break down the complexity of the subject matter and offer immediate assistance.
For issues that might arise during your life, our team will also set up a protective plan so that if you ever become incapacitated, your health and financial well-being will reside in the hands of someone you appoint. Five key documents include:
- Power of Attorney for Health Care
- HIPAA Authorization & Release
- Advanced Directive for End-of-life Decisions
- Power of Attorney for Property
- Nomination of Guardian and Conservator
We’re here to help!
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, married or single, have children, or are childless, we strongly encourage you to create an estate plan.
Myatt & Bell, P.C. has decades of experience assisting clients in creating estate planning documents that accurately and clearly outline intended distributions of estates, while protecting interests in the event of incapacity. Please call us to discuss which estate plan is right for you.
Sierra Myers, Paralegal
What do you do just for fun? I like to train for semi-crazy competitions. Currently, I am training for the Great Pacific Race (a rowing race from the coast of California to the shores of Hawaii). I am also training for a half and full marathon that I will enter at the beginning of next year.
What is your all-time favorite book or movie? My all-time favorite book is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It’s beautifully written, and you find small things you missed every time you read it that makes the story that much more meaningful. I read it while I was in Paris, and I couldn’t put it down.
Most memorable place you have vacationed? Our family trip to Capri, which is an island off the coast of Italy. My family has Italian heritage, and we like to host our family reunions over in Italy. We have done it twice so far, and Capri was my favorite. Spending time with my distant relatives and catching up on their lives is always a treat.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I enjoy going to concerts, painting, reading, and finding new restaurants or bars to try.
Sierra’s Family Recipe
Grandma Cathy’s, “Bar ‘B Cups”
- 1lb of ground beef, chicken or turkey
- 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce
- 1 can of tenderflake canned biscuits
- 1 Tbsp minced onion
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- Shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Brown meat and drain
- Add barbeque sauce, onion and brown sugar
- Simmer until onions soften
- Remove canned biscuits and press individual biscuit into an ungreased muffin pan portion so that dough lines the bottom and sides
- Spoon meat mixture into the biscuit cups and then sprinkle with cheese
- Bake for 10-12 minutes
- Once biscuits are golden brown around edges, let cool and enjoy!
- Serves 4
Estate Planning & Peace of Mind
Have you found yourself making excuses for why not to get your estate in order? Maybe you’re convinced that you really don’t need estate planning. If you have assets and loved ones, you need an estate plan. Having an estate plan that is right for you ensures your loved ones are taken care of and that the transition is as easy as possible.
Attend one of our complimentary estate planning webinars and see for yourself. Having your estate plan prepared and understanding the why’s behind the importance of estate planning can bring you the peace of mind you have been needing. Join us at our next Estate Planning Informational Webinar by clicking here.
From Our Clients
“Taking care of our Estate Plan was streamlined by Myatt & Bell. We appreciated the attention to detail and answers to every question we came up with. Thank you for our new piece of mind, Myatt team!” – Betsy F.
“My wife and I set up our Living Trust through Myatt and Bell originally in 2002 and they did a great job! We did an update through them recently and were again very happy with their work! I am happy to recommend their services to anyone who needs this type of work done.” – Jeffrey C.
Families choose Myatt & Bell to design their estate plans with honest optimism and meticulous attention to detail.
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And, if you run into someone who needs help with a will or trust, please tell them about Myatt & Bell. Thank you!