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The Essentials of Estate Planning


What documents should I consider?

When planning for the security of your family and loved ones, preparing with the right tools is imperative. No two sets of circumstances are alike. Every situation represents different needs and challenges. Emprise Bank is committed to providing you with the solutions that make sense for YOU.

The following is a brief list of estate planning documents everyone should consider. This list features basic types of legal documents, and should not be considered a solution for every situation. That’s why Emprise Bank has a team of experienced professionals available: to help you plan, navigate, and execute your most important decisions – the ones that protect your family.

Commonly referred to as a “Last Will and Testament,” this legal document is created by the “testator.” The testator is the individual whose property is outlined in the document. The will names an executor, which may be an individual or a corporation (Emprise Bank offers professional corporate executor services). The executor is responsible for the distribution of the testator’s property at the time of his or her death. This only includes property that is held in the testator’s name that does not pass through other ownership or beneficiary designation. Additionally, it provides the testator the opportunity to name guardians for minor children and make specific requests regarding funeral arrangements. This document takes effect at the time of passing of the testator, and requires a review by the court in probate. This means a court oversees its administration and it becomes public record as a result.

A trust is created by a “settlor,” who transfers the control of his or her property to a trust. A trustee is responsible for the ongoing administration of the trust, including overseeing the distribution of property to beneficiaries named in the trust, in accordance to the wishes outlined in the trust. A trustee can be an individual (such as a family member), or a corporation specializing in trusts (such as Emprise Bank). The distribution of property can take place while the settlor is still living, or after passing. Distributions can be made in full, or over the course of a designated period of time. Trusts are administered outside of probate, so they remain private and are typically more efficient.

Power of Attorney
A power of attorney can take many forms: general, limited, and durable, just to name a few. For most people, the purpose is to allow another party to act on an individual’s behalf, should they become incapacitated.

Financial Power of Attorney
This document allows an individual a reliable way to appoint another party to manage the finances of that person, should they be unavailable or unable to do so on their own behalf. This record protects that individual from having the court systems determine who has authority over their financial affairs if they are unable to decide on their own behalf. In some cases, it requires the assessment of a physician to confirm that the individual is indeed unable to make reasonable decisions. A Durable Power of Attorney is commonly used, as it remains effective after the principal has become incapacitated. All powers of attorney cease to be valid at the time of death of the principal.

Healthcare Power of Attorney
This document designates a trusted appointee to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal in the event that the individual is unable to make decisions on their own behalf. Unless the document specifies otherwise, it is effective indefinitely, or until such time that the principal regains competency. The principal may make specific requests regarding his or her health care. This is an essential document for every person.

Living Will
This document provides specific written instructions regarding what actions should and should not be taken regarding the principal’s health care in the event that they are not able to directly communicate their wishes due to illness or incapacity. Also known as an Advance Health Care Directive, this document often includes wishes pertaining to life-prolonging efforts, including “Do Not Resuscitate” orders.

Now that you have a general understanding of basic estate planning documents, perhaps it’s time to contact Emprise Bank to discuss the next steps in protecting what you’ve worked a lifetime to earn.

Emprise Bank has a team of skilled professionals to assist you with any of your financial and estate planning needs. If you're not sure where to start, the first step is easy. Email or call 316.383.4420 and set up an appointment. We'll walk you through the rest.


The information contained within this document does not constitute rendering legal advice.
This document is only intended to provide estate planning considerations.