Estate Planning Basics


Everyone that acquires assets throughout their lives can benefit from Estate Planning.

An estate-planning attorney must be able to provide you with advice on the following:


Making a Will allows you to decide how to distribute your assets after your death and enables you to provide for any children or other loved ones you may leave behind. In particular, a Will allows you to:

Appoint someone you know and trust to act as executor of the estate you leave behind.

Appoint guardians for your minor children or for other loved ones such as older parents or handicapped loved ones.

Choose precisely how your assets are to be disposed of after your death.

Avoid disposition of your assets according to intestate laws (when you pass away without a will).

Form a testamentary trust or private interest foundation.

If you die intestate:

Reviewing your Will every few years (or more often) is as important as making a Will in the first place. You may wish to distribute your assets differently and/or your family circumstances may have changed.

Your Will may also require amendments to reflect changes in the law.

Private Interest Foundations

A foundation is a legal entity that is created by means of a document called Foundation Charter by one or more individuals or legal entities (called “Founders”) who obligate to transfer to the foundation, assets of any kind that, under the management of a governing designated by the Founders (called “Foundation Council”), must carry out the wishes of the Founders and for the benefit of individuals or legal entities called Beneficiaries, who can be the Founders themselves, and thar are designated by the Founders in the Foundation Charter or in a private document called Regulations, thus preserving the Beneficiaries identity private.


A Trust is a contract that is created by one or more individuals or legal entities called Settlors by executing a Trust Agreement with one or more individuals or legal entities called Trustees and by which the Settlors obligate to transfer to the Trustee, assets of any kind that, under the management of the Trustee, will be subject to the wishes of the Settlors in the benefit of individuals or legal entities called Beneficiaries, who can be the Settlors themselves, designated in the Trust Agreement by the Settlors.

Investment companies

Even though commercial in nature, people use investment companies for estate-planning purposes for their asset protection aspects. People also use them as asset disposal devices upon death when used together with a Trust or Private Interest Foundation.

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Sometimes incapacity, rather than death, can have serious consequences for your family and close friends, as they are likely to have administrative and financial difficulties in trying to manage your affairs on your behalf or on behalf of your family members or other loved ones, during moments in which you are incapable of handling your own affairs.

The sudden inability to handle your own affairs makes it impossible for family members (in the short term) to access your bank or investment accounts, pay your bills and make other day-to-day arrangements on your behalf.

Power of attorney allow you to name someone you trust to represent you if incapacity befalls you in the future. This planning greatly reduces distress amongst your family members who would otherwise have to apply to the courts to gain access to your assets.

Medical Powers of Attorney (or Living Wills)

Sometimes life threatening incapacity due to sudden illness or accident, rather than death, can have serious consequences for your family and loved ones, as they are likely to have practical and emotional difficulties in trying to determine the medical care you would have wanted had you been conscious to decide for yourself.

It is possible to put your medical wishes in writing in a living will for the event that you are not able to make these decisions for yourself in the future. Putting these matters in writing in advance may save your family from splitting apart due to disagreements when faced with making life and death decisions on your behalf.

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