For a good overall estate plan, you may want to talk with your accountant, financial adviser, and your lawyer. This video is about what you should consider with your lawyer.
Your estate plan addresses what happens to your estate (your stuff) when you die, AND how your estate should be handled in case you’re incapacitated. Statistically, about 80% will be incapacitated before dying, so it’s important to plan for that.
Three primary components of an estate plan are:
- Powers of Attorney, 2. A Will or Trust, and 3. some Asset Protection.
First, and I believe the most important, are good durable powers of attorney. You should have one that appoints people to make decisions for you medically, but more important is someone to have authority over your financial matters. Good financial powers of attorney are important for three reasons: 1. If you don’t have one, the only other option is a guardianship in the probate court; 2. All utility companies, banks, insurance companies, and similar places require and review them; and, 3. No company is required to accept them. So if they are not well written there can be a lot of expense and difficulties later, when it’s too late to sign a better one.
The Second primary component of an estate plan is how to provide direction for passing your assets onto your loved ones after you die. It is important you know, a Will only applies to your things going through probate. If you jointly title your bank account, put a beneficiary on it, or put it in a trust, whatever a Will says does not apply to that bank account. Almost always, the best answer for a good estate plan is a trust. With a trust, you can make all needed provisions for your death, or a beneficiary’s death. You can make provisions for your incapacity, or a beneficiary’s incapacity. And in a trust, you can make provisions for other beneficiary problems, like divorced, getting sued, or if they have to go to a nursing home.
The Third primary component to an estate plan is some asset protection. This may consist of insurance, like a general liability policy or long-term care insurance. There are many long-term care insurance options available now that were unheard of just a few years ago. A good plan also may include an asset protection trust to protect against nursing home costs, lawsuits, or being taken advantage of as you get older.
Read More Here! Guide to Beginning Your Estate Plan
I’m Rusty Fracassa for Paths Elder Law. If we can help you get your estate plan done, visit our website or give us a call.