When it comes to establishing wills and estate plans, a significant number---19 percent of those over age 72 and 42 percent of those between 53 and 71, according to survey data, lack any type of estate plan.
Although managing these details can seem daunting, and even depressing, the task becomes far less unpleasant with proper planning. Estate planning is essentials for seniors and for their family members to be prepared in the event of a loved one's illness or passing.
If you or an aging loved one have been putting off estate planning, start with the basic and learn why it is important to take the focus off of the negative and shift it to the positive benefits.
Understanding the meaning of "estate".
In addition to the fear factor of planning for illness and death, many seniors dismiss its importance because they don't understand what "estate" means, or they believe it applies only to those with significant wealth. In reality, an estate includes anything a person owns--owns or other properties, bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts, and any other asset. A person's estate also includes any liabilities like mortgages. These will debts will be settled before loves ones or beneficiaries receive any compensation or death benefits. An estate plan encompasses more than distributing assets and settling debts. It also outlines decisions about healthcare and financial power on disability or death.
The estate plan's role in self advocacy.
Estate plans help establish important guidelines that allow you to advocate for yourself. This is essential for retaining your independence and protect your assets. In addition to creating a will or trust and other important documents, an estate plan allows you to have a say in the quality of long term care--whether at home or in assisted living--and to qualify for associated government benefits to help pay for that care. Planning also helps protect your savings and outline wishes if you became incapacitated.
What is included in an estate plan?
A properly executed estate plan would include the following documents, among others, which are tailored to your situation:
- Pourover will or last will and testament
- HIPAA Authorization
- Durable Health Care Power of Attorney
- Statement to Physicians
- Springing Power of Attorney for Financial Decision Making
- Trust Agreement
- Certificate of Trust
- Assignment of Personal Property into Trust
- Designation of Beneficiary (retirement and investment accounts)
Estate planning includes determining whether you need a will or a trust. Whether a will or a trust is the correct planning tool for you is a decision made once we have had a chance to review your wishes for your property and how you wish your assets to be distributed.
If you or a loved one has been avoiding this important planning measure, now is the time to begin. Being proactive increases options and makes the process far less stressful and trying to initiate planning or make important decisions during a health crises or death.
Virtual Estate Plan
Our estate planning design meeting is where it all comes together. This can be accomplished by a video conference or by telephone. We determine which tools and planning devices are correct for you. The final documents of your estate planing will be signed, witnesses and notarized. After your plan is complete, you will receive your signed original documents in a notebook, with written instructions on how to maintain your plan.
For more information on these subjects check out some of our pages below:
Getting started is easy. Contact my office at 307.200.1914 to schedule a free consultation.