As you age and your family grows, the importance of your estate plan cannot be overstated. Your estate plan is about more than just passing on assets. It is also about making sure that you have the protections you need to ensure the resolution of your personal affairs, qualify for Medicaid, and to be sure your long-term care is accounted for.
What to consider in your estate plan
Estate planning encompasses many different considerations. Some of the basics of estate planning require you to think about:
- Creating a trust and pour over will to pass on your assets to your loved ones.
- Choosing to set up specific trusts to protect your assets and those you care about, such as special needs trusts for adult dependents or pet trusts for your furry friends.
- Setting up your health care and general powers of attorney, so you know that someone you trust will be able to manage your affairs and make medical choices for you when you cannot. These documents not only allow the individuals you choose the power to act on your behalf with authority, but also the tools to carry out your wishes.
- Reducing the value of your estate and what it would take to help you qualify for Medicaid or other benefits in the future.
- Taxation and how to reduce the value of the estate that will be taxed by the state or federal government.
A good estate plan will cover these topics and others that matter to you. It will protect you during your life if you happen to become incapacitated temporarily or permanently, and it will guide your loved ones after your death.
Can’t you set up an estate plan on your own?
Do-it-yourself estate planning websites and kits do exist, but they may not be designed for your state or the specifics of your estate. Unfortunately, these kits do not include all of the protections afforded to you by statute, and do not cover all situations and circumstances which a licensed attorney can provide. Additionally, you still need to speak with an attorney and notary to finalize the documents. Do-it-yourself trusts often end up improperly funded, and without all of the necessary protections and directions, will result in a probate estate, defeating the purpose of having created the trust in the first place.
It saves you more time and helps you better protect yourself if you decide to work with your attorney from the start. By doing that, you are making sure that your estate plan is set up to protect you now and that it will not contain documents that are outdated or irrelevant for your situation.
Getting started on your estate plan is simple. Start by critically thinking about what you want in the future and then talk to someone about the legal options you have to choose from.
It can be hard to know what choices to make to help you create the best estate plan for your needs. Thankfully, you can rely on the experienced guidance of an estate planning attorney. They can help you determine what options are right for you. Choosing to have an estate plan is the first step in protecting your wishes, and wills and trusts can help you accomplish this. That is why the attorneys at Gudeman & Associates custom tailor estate plans based on you and your family’s specific needs and circumstances. Contact us today to schedule a free estate planning consultation.