Monday, February 2, 2009

What you need to know

Estate Planning: What You Need to Know
Published: January 26, 2009
Estate planning rarely gets the attention it should get.

Your Money Guides

We talk about all kinds of financial decisions but are reluctant to talk about what will happen if we die.

But not discussing something that is going to happen will not stop it from happening.

WILLS Everybody should have a will, and people who are married and/or have dependent children are inexcusably foolish if they do not.

If you are wondering what will happen to your money if you die without a will, go to

LIVING WILLS AND MEDICAL DIRECTIVES What will happen if you are seriously injured or incapacitated? This is an area where you really want to pay attention to the details. If you followed the Schiavo case and have a strong opinion about a specific treatment, then you need to express that in a living will.

SPECIAL-NEEDS TRUSTS Most people with physically or mentally challenged children worry about how their deaths will affect their children. Special-needs trusts are a common and effective way for parents to make sure their children are cared for. By leaving money to a trust and not to their special-needs children, parents can supplement government benefits to their children.

Trusts are no longer the province of the very rich. They are useful and straightforward vehicles to protect assets in life from creditors and lawsuits and to pass them to heirs on your own terms.

The lesson to be learned from all of this is simple: One day you will die, so while you’re alive, plan for it. If you don’t have a proper estate plan, the emotional pain of your passing could be compounded by financial chaos.

Everyone should have at minimum a will. They don't have to be expensive, you can even do your own. If you are a Utahn who would like information or assistance in drafting an inexpensive, professional will visit our website at or for more on estate planning and trusts visit

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