When you look at the results of surveys that are conducted about estate planning preparedness, you find that the vast majority of adults do not have wills or trusts. Yet, when researchers probe further, most of these people say that they know that estate planning is important.
Many of them do not take action because they know nothing about the subject, so it seems overwhelming. With this in mind, we are going to provide four easy steps that you can take to put a comprehensive estate plan in place.
Evaluate Your Assets
You should start by inventorying the assets that you expect to be able to pass along to your loved ones when the time comes. While you are doing this, you should set your personal preferences aside and consider the people that will be receiving the inheritances.
If you have a collection of baseball memorabilia and none of your children are into the sport, should you leave them the items? You understand the market, and you would be in a far better position to negotiate fair terms if you sell your valuable pieces of baseball history.
This is an example, and this dynamic does not exclusively apply to a personal interest. Let’s say that you have a vacation home, and you think that your three children and their families would enjoy visiting the property as much as you did.
They may not be a financial position to enjoy this type of luxury when the property can be sold for a large chunk of change. The money could be used to eliminate debt, send their children to college, or infuse money into a business.
When you take these steps in advance, your children will recognize the fact that you acted in their best interests, and it will mean a lot to them.
Consider Asset Transfer Methods
You do not have to provide lump sum inheritances to each person on your inheritance list through the terms of a will. If you have concerns about the money management capabilities of a loved one, you can establish a trust with asset protection and spendthrift safeguards.
There are incentive trusts that can be used to guide someone away from destructive behavior, and the incentives can lead people toward constructive actions. If you will be leaving an inheritance to a person with a disability, a supplemental needs trust will usually be the right solution.
When you work with an estate planning attorney to put a plan in place, you can explain the specific concerns they have about each beneficiary. You will receive the appropriate recommendations, and you will be able to provide for everyone in the optimal matter.
Confront Possible Incapacity
When you look back at your life when you were younger, could you possibly understand how you feel today? You simply cannot project yourself into the future, but when you are planning ahead for your elder years, you have to accept some unpleasant realities.
More than 30 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older have Alzheimer’s disease, and there are other causes of cognitive impairment. When you add in other illnesses that make it impossible for elders to handle their own affairs, you can see a pretty clear picture.
Incapacity is not uncommon among the oldest old, so your plan should address this reality. If you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee to manage the trust in the event of your incapacity.
A durable power of attorney can be used to empower a financial decision-maker if you do not have a trust. In fact, you should add one of these documents even if you have a living trust because you may not convey everything you own into the trust for one reason or another.
Advance directives for health care should be added as well. You can name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in a durable power of attorney for health care. A living will can be used to state your life-support utilization choices.
One final piece of the puzzle is a HIPAA release that will give your health care agent the legal right to access your medical records.
Schedule a Consultation Right Now!
It is time to end the procrastination if you have been going through life without an estate plan. You can schedule a consultation at our Memphis, TN estate planning office if you call us at 901-763-2500 or 866-997-6325.
If you would rather send us a message, simply fill out our contact form it will get back in touch with you promptly.