Estate planning is one of the basic responsibilities of adulthood, but studies that are conducted show that most people are unprepared for an event that is an absolute inevitability. There are some good reasons why you should consult with an estate planning lawyer if you have been ignoring the matter, and we will look at five of them here.
A lot of people are not too concerned about inheritance planning because they assume that the government will step in to take care of everything if it becomes necessary. It is true that the probate court would be engaged to supervise the estate administration process under these circumstances.
However, this does not mean that everything will fall into place the way you would want it to in a perfect world. We will look here at the most overarching reason why this is a bad approach, but there are other negatives that can enter the picture.
When someone dies without a will or a trust, it is called the condition of intestacy. If you die intestate, the court would appoint a personal representative to act as the estate administrator, and creditors would be notified about your passing. Rightful debts would be paid by the representative during probate.
After the court determines that all the administrative tasks have been handled appropriately, they would allow for the distribution of the assets using the intestate succession laws of your state of residence. Though you could get lucky, it is very possible that people that you love would be disinherited if things unfold in this manner.
Avoid DIY Mistakes
You may decide that it is time to put the procrastination behind you and create an estate plan on your own using a download that you get off the Internet. There is nothing legally stopping you from taking this action, but you should certainly think long and hard before you take things into your own hands.
Consumer Reports engaged three legal professors to examine last wills that were created using DIY tools that were provided by leading websites that sell boilerplate legal documents. To make a long story short, they determined that unintended native consequences could come about if you go this route. The magazine and website advised against do-it-yourself estate planning.
Choose the Right Asset Transfer Vehicle
There are many different ways to make sure that assets get into the hands of your loved ones after you pass away. The optimal strategy will depend upon the circumstances, and as a layperson, there is no reason why you would know exactly how you should proceed.
A lot of people assume that a last will is the right choice unless you are very wealthy, but this is really not the case. There are trusts that are used by high net worth individuals, but the revocable living trust is a versatile estate planning tool that can be beneficial for people of relatively ordinary means.
The point is, you have options, and you should discuss them a licensed estate planning attorney.
Address Long-Term Care Costs
If you don’t consider the possible impact of nursing home costs late in your life, you may have nothing left to leave behind to your family members. About 35% of American seniors will need nursing home care eventually, and Medicare will not help with the costs.
These facilities are very expensive so this is a big deal. Medicaid will pay for long-term care, and it is possible to position your assets wisely to preserve your resources with future Medicaid eligibility in mind.
Incapacity Planning Assistance
A well-constructed estate plan should include an incapacity planning component because a very significant percentage of elders become unable to make sound decisions eventually. You can execute durable powers of attorney to name agents that would be able to make financial and health care decisions on your behalf.
With a living will, you can state your preferences regarding the utilization of artificial life-sustaining measures in the event of your incapacitation. You should include a HIPAA release form as well to give people of your choosing the ability to see your medical records.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Now that you know why you should discuss your estate planning goals with a licensed attorney, it is time to take action. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 704-944-3245 in North Carolina (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC) and 606-324-5516 in Ashland, Kentucky, or 859-372-6655 in Florence, Kentucky.
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