Most people do not have a full understanding of the reasons why you should plan your estate in a particular way. The ideal course of action will depend upon the circumstances so you should be careful about making assumptions.
Individuals who go forward without the right information often make mistakes that yield negative consequences. In this post, we will look at three common estate planning traps to avoid.
DIY Estate Planning
There are websites that sell generic, boilerplate legal documents, including last wills and trusts. Their marketing material can be quite convincing because they paint a picture of affordable, convenient simplicity. You download a worksheet, you fill in the blanks, and you are good to go.
In reality, DIY estate planning is risky business. When you buy a home or otherwise get involved in a significant transaction with legal implications, you take it very seriously. You are not going to try to take care of all of the legalities yourself because the stakes are high, and things have to be done right.
Estate planning is an extremely important endeavor. You are arranging for the eventual transfer of everything that you own to the people that you love the most. There are state laws you must follow when you execute documents, and there are a lot of details you must address.
Why should you take chances when qualified legal assistance is just a phone call away? There is an investment involved, but a properly constructed estate plan can save your family money in the long run.
Not Exploring Your Options
A lot of people assume that a last will is always the ideal estate planning document unless you are a multimillionaire. The idea is that it is simple, and the people that are in line for inheritances will receive their bequests in a timely manner after your death.
When you hear the facts, you may see the matter quite a bit differently. A will would be admitted to probate, which is a court supervised process. No inheritances are distributed while the estate is being probated, and it will typically take at least nine months.
There are expenses that accumulate during probate, and it is a public proceeding. Anyone that wants to access probate records can do so to find out how you decided to distribute your resources.
To avoid probate, you could use a revocable living trust. The trustee that you name in the document would be allowed to distribute assets to the beneficiaries when the time comes outside of probate. This is one of the benefits, but there are a number of others.
A living trust is the right choice for a wide range of people, but there are other types of trusts that satisfy various aims. You should certainly understand your options before you make any decisions.
Failure to Consider Long-Term Care Costs
One major mistake that people sometimes make is a failure to implement a nursing home asset protection strategy. The majority of senior citizens will need some type of living assistance, and 35 percent of elders will ultimately reside in nursing homes.
These facilities are expensive, and costs have been rising over recent years. Medicare does not pay for the custodial care that you would receive in a nursing home so this gap is a major problem.
Depending on the extent of your assets, nursing home bills can consume all or part of your legacy, and if you are married, the potential impact is doubled. Fortunately, Medicaid does pay for long-term care, and we can help you understand how to qualify.
Schedule a Consultation Right Now!
If you are ready to discuss your estate planning goals with a licensed attorney, we are here to help. You can schedule a consultation with our attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina if you call us at 704-944-3245. The number in Ashland, Kentucky is 606-324-5516, and there is a contact form on this website you can use to send a message to either location.