Estate planning

The discomfort of issues relating to death and dying cause many to delay estate planning and the difficult questions which arise from it. Many others avoid the issue because they believe their estates are not large enough for asset protection strategies. Factors such as these mean more than half of Americans lack even the most basic of wills. A comprehensive estate plan often includes a Durable Power of Attorney for financial planning, an Advanced Health Care Directive for medical guidance, and the use of various trusts to pass wealth onto the next generation without incurring unnecessary taxes.

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Probate is often required for estates exceeding $200,000, but can be avoided through the use of revocable living trusts, medicaid trusts, certain asset types such as tenancy by the entirety, and through other estate planning arrangements. The subject matter is at times unpleasant, but planning now helps minimize painful difficulties in the future. A good first step in considering what should be accomplished with an estate plan would be to discuss your estate with loved ones and with trusted family advisers.

Initiating this discussion regarding their interests and preferences helps make clear which actions to pursue or avoid. For example, not giving unwanted property or responsibility to a certain individual. These conversations will help add to your list of critical issues that should be addressed and goals you would like to accomplish.

Frequently Asked Questions

This guide includes several of the most commonly asked questions regarding estate planning. Topics as diverse as the requirements for a valid will, how to revoke a will and whether an Advanced Health Care Directive is for you are all covered. We even cover Pet Trusts! Don't see your estate planning question here? Whether you wish to know more about probate, how to avoid it, or just want basic information... please let us know! We are proud to offer quality legal advice for those inside and outside of Wyoming. We offer several services related to the estate planning process. Browse our articles on guardianship here.

Final Thoughts

It is best to deal with the topic sooner, rather than later, so everything is in place when you, a family member, or other loved one passes away. Passing away without a will can lead to unnecessary anguish and taxes during an already difficult time. You should always consult an attorney when creating your estate plan.

Review basic terms here.

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Wyoming probate

"Probate" generally refers to the court-supervised process of legally transferring property from a dead person to a living person. Probate is usually necessary in Wyoming to transfer assets held by a decedent in his or her sole name at death worth more than $200,000. The process has several drawbacks primarily relating to delays, expenses and privacy. There exist several alternative techniques such as revocable trusts. Learn more about the probate process here.

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durable power of attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows someone to act for you. They quit being effective, though, when someone becomes incapacitated. In such cases a Durable Power of Attorney is needed. The Financial planning raises the concern of ensuring effective management of property and financial affairs after you become incapable of managing them. Durable Powers of Attorney provide a flexible and low-cost option for such situations. Lifetime financial planning frequently poses the issue of how to ensure effective management of property and financial affairs after you become incapable of managing them on your own.

Important events affecting a person's finances and property should not be put on hold simply because the person is unconscious or lacks the mental or physical capability of acting on his or her own. See inside for further information on Durable and Medical Power of Attorney forms.

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advanced health care directive

The term "living will" became a household word in 2005 due to events surrounding the acrimonious dispute in Florida over Terri Schiavo. Modern medicine makes such extraordinary situations possible and some may wish to place limits on medical care if they feel the burdens outweigh possible benefits. During such situations establishing a person's wishes is frequently impossible when that person loses the capacity to express themselves. 

Despite all this, a majority of Americans have failed to provide their family members such guidance. This lack of guidance means family will have an unnecessarily difficult time predicting their loved ones' medical wishes. Completeing an Advanced Directiv ahead of time helps minimize undue stress during already trying times. Being healthy is no excuse not to begin this important process.

Here is a complete list of our estate planning topics: elder law, basic estate planning terms, frequently asked questions, guardianship, transferring wealth, DPOA forms, RLTs, MAPTs and probate.