Estate planning is a dynamic, ongoing process that is actually an extension of the financial planning that you have done throughout your life. You make sure that you have sufficient resources to draw from for your own purposes, and you simultaneously have your legacy goals in mind.
When you are going to make investments, if you are not a professional, you are probably going to enlist the services of a financial adviser. This makes a lot of sense, and you should apply this logic to your estate planning efforts.
The average layperson is not going to know much about the estate planning tools that can be used. There are many different ways that you can proceed, and you should understand all of the facts so you can act in a fully informed manner.
Some people are under the impression that estate planning is a matter of slicing up a pie into different pieces through the terms of a last will. In reality, this approach is usually not going to be the best one.
If you consult with an estate planning attorney, your lawyer will get to know you and gain an understanding of your financial situation. Your family dynamic will also be a big part of the equation, and you will discuss your estate planning goals with these things in mind.
Ultimately, your estate planning attorney will help you devise a custom crafted plan that ideally suits your needs.
Right Tool for the Job
What do we mean by the term “custom crafted plan?” Each family is unique, so you should consider the needs and the life situation of each person on your inheritance list.
For example, you may have someone in the family who is not a good money manager. There are specific estate planning steps that you can use to protect a spendthrift from his or her own bad decision-making.
Taxation is another matter that can be addressed through the implementation of advanced estate planning techniques. High net worth families can be exposed to the federal estate tax. This tax carries a 40 percent maximum rate so your legacy can be significantly eroded if the tax is imposed.
If your estate is going to be subject to taxation, you can position your assets to save taxes with the assistance of an estate planning attorney.
Nursing home asset protection is another subject that you should definitely discuss with your estate planning attorney. You can’t leave inheritances to your loved ones if you have nothing left after paying for nursing home costs.
The Medicare program does not pay for custodial care, which is the form of care that you would receive in a nursing home. These facilities are exorbitantly expensive. It can easily cost you over $100,000 to spend a year in a private room in a nursing home, and some residents require care for years.
For many, the solution is Medicaid. This government program does pay for long-term care if you can qualify, but there are income and asset limits because it is a need-based program.
It is possible to divest yourself of assets so that you can qualify for Medicaid, but the rules are complex, and timing is crucial. If you work with a licensed attorney, you can take all the right steps to preserve your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones.
These are a few scenarios that can exist, but there is an estate planning strategy that can be implemented to address any type of situation.
When you are looking for an estate planning attorney, you definitely want to find someone who you feel comfortable working with because you will be talking about sensitive subjects. You can ask around among your family members, friends, and associates, and they may be able to make a recommendation based on their personal experiences.
Another way to find a good estate planning attorney is to look for professional affiliations. The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys is a body that has been educating legal professionals since 1992.
Members of the Academy are always going to be standing at the ready to provide you with personalized attention.
The attorneys here at the Potter Law Firm are long-standing members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. If you would like to develop a relationship with a Charlotte area attorney, you are in the right place. We would be glad to get to know you, answer your questions, and help you put a plan in place if you decide to move forward.
To set up a consultation, call us at (704) 944-3245 or send us a message through our contact page.