Do the words “wills”, “trusts,” “estates,” and “health care directives” make you think of tools that help protect your family and your wishes if death or incapacity strikes? Or do you ignore those words, thinking they don’t apply to little old regular you?
October 19th-25th, 2015 marks National Estate Planning Awareness Week. This week is to spread the word that estate planning is for everyone. A young parent just starting out, a hard working middle ager realizing you are not immortal after all, a wealthy entrepreneur or a senior citizen looking at finite resources, estate planning provides a solid legal foundation for protecting your family, your financial security, your wishes and your independence through all of life’s transitions.
Prepare and Protect Your Family: If you have minor children, estate planning allows you to appoint the people you want to raise them in the event of your unexpected death or incapacity. Trusts allow you to protect minor children, or even adult children, who may not be prepared to receive a large sum of money after you die. Health care directives and powers of attorney make it easier for your family to manage medical and financial affairs during a health care crisis or unexpected incapacity. And of course, estate planning keeps your loved ones from unnecessary court and legal fees, and the worst of family feuds during the emotional time of loss.
Distribute and Maximize Finances: For both large estates and modest ones, estate planning ensures that more of your money goes to your family after your passing. Proper estate planning can also help senior citizens and baby boomers qualify for Medicaid and additional VA Pension Benefits for health care without becoming impoverished or “spending down” everything they own. Some professionals such as physicians and contractors also look to estate planning to shield their personal assets from lawsuits, creditors and other risks associated with their occupations. And families with children who have special needs can provide money for their care without jeopardizing access to government benefits.
Define Your Legacy: Do you have assets you wish to leave to certain people? Are you in a non-traditional relationship or blended family and want to ensure your loved ones are taken care of and share in your inheritance after you are gone? Is there someone you trust to make important medical or financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so? Without an estate plan in place, all of these personal decisions will be made by the courts if the unthinkable happens. This is why estate planning is such an important strategy in making sure your wishes are known and honored if tragedy strikes.
Your Peace of Mind: With a well thought out estate plan in place, you have less to fear about the future – both for your own well being and that of your family members. Tools such as living trusts, powers of attorneys, insurance policies and health care directives can help you fund your future care needs and carefully design the life and independence you wish to enjoy during your later years.
Awareness is not enough—Take ACTION!
National Estate Planning Awareness Week is a great way to help more people become aware of estate planning and its role in protecting your financial future and the people you love—the information is useless if you don’t take action!
Attorneys spend their days thinking of the worst that can happen, but its true that none of us ever know when our time will be up. Estate planning should be taken care of early and often. Make a plan and keep it up to date so that if an unexpected illness or accident happens, you won’t have lost out on the planning options once available to you.
Call for an appointment to discuss your own personal needs now.