Preparing an Estate Plan is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family. When done properly, an Estate Plan can give your family a road map for health care decisions and treatments and eliminates the need for them to guess what you would want. You will also be able to decide who will handle your financial affairs if you can’t and when and to whom your assets will be given.
Many people believe Estate Planning is only for the “old” or the “rich.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. As we age, our legal needs change, just like our housing, financial and medical needs do.
When we turn 18, we legally become an adult and no one can make financial or health care decisions for us without giving them written legal permission to do so. This is done through a Durable Power of Attorney. Additionally, a HIPAA Release gives medical providers permission to talk to the people who will make decisions if we can’t.
When we get married, start a family or purchase a house, it is a great time to have a Revocable Living Trust prepared. A Revocable Living Trust avoids the Probate process upon your passing and will help protect your family in the event of an untimely passing. It will also make it easier for your family to step in and help as you age. It is important to note that a Revocable Living Trust will NOT Protect Your Assets.
Retirement or Illness
When you retire or if you are diagnosed with a Life-Limiting Illness, it is time to think about protecting your assets against the costs of long-term care, creditors and predators. An asset protection trust can also help you qualify for Veterans “Aid & Attendance” Benefits. Veterans benefits help pay for high, unreimbursed medical costs for a Veteran (or surviving spouse) who served during a period of war, and meet other criteria.
Life is complicated. It simply isn’t enough to tell your doctor or family what you want. People hear and remember things differently. The law says it must be in writing. Don’t leave your family guessing or feeling guilty. Do the right thing and put an Estate Plan in place.