“I need a will!” is a commonly heard phrase, but sometimes it’s important to revisit exactly why. Every adult, even “adults” who are 18 years old, need some estate planning. And while a will is helpful, it only comes into play once you’re gone. Instead, a complete estate plan also allows you to plan for living. Below are 10 tasks that a comprehensive estate plan can help you accomplish.
- Allows you to determine who gets what.
Through a will or a revocable living trust you can say who gets your property when you pass.
- Allows you to determine when they get it.
You can also place restrictions on when and how your beneficiaries receive their inheritance. This is especially helpful for children who are minors, have special needs, or are financially irresponsible. It can also help ensure your hard-earned assets stay in the blood line.
- Allows you to avoid the probate process altogether.
A will does not keep your family out of court. Even a validly executed will must go through the court-supervised probate process. With a revocable living trust, you can save the time, expense, hassle, and delay of probate not only once, but twice for married couples.
- Allows you to determine who will take care of your kids.
If you have minor children, you can choose who will take care of them should you be unable to do so.
- Allows you to determine who will manage your kids’ money.
The person you choose to care for your minor children can manage the children’s inheritance, but that’s not required.
- In blended families, allows you to take care of your spouse and your children.
Through certain planning strategies, you can provide for both a surviving spouse and children from a previous marriage.
- Allows you to determine who will be responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out.
The executor in a will or a successor trustee in a revocable living trust will be responsible for making sure the wishes you leave behind are respected.
- Allows you to determine who will manage your finances and your medical decisions if you’re alive, but unable to do so.
A durable power of attorney will allow you to designate an agent to make financial decisions for you while alive, and through a medical power of attorney, you can designate a health care agent, too. With a Physician’s Directive, you can communicate what your wishes are regarding technological medical interventions.
- Allows you to determine who can receive your health care information, even if they aren’t designated to make your medical decisions.
If there are loved ones you would want to have information about your medical status, but whom you have not explicitly authorized to make health care decisions, a HIPAA authorization allows your medical team to talk to them.
- Allows you to preserve your assets from being lost because of a stay in the nursing home.
When timely executed, planning techniques can help protect assets from being lost to nursing home costs, while still allowing you to qualify to receive Medicaid benefits.
To learn more about how estate planning may help your family, please join Solak Legal’s next FREE online event, Estate Planning 101, on Wednesday, July 22nd at 4:30. A replay will be provided to all registrants. Email Jennifer@solaklegal.com to register.
The information in this column, which was sponsored by Solak Legal as part of The Leader Expert Series, is intended to provide a general understanding of the law and not legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult attorneys for advice on their particular circumstances. Jennifer Solak provides legal advice for families and businesses and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-588-5744.
Title: Estate Planning 101
Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Time: 4:30 p.m
Can’t make it?: All registrants receive a replay
To register: Email Jennifer@solaklegal.com