A lot of people think that estate planning boils down to one simple task. You take a little bit of time to record your final wishes in a will, and the matter is closed. All you have to do is buy a worksheet online and fill in the blanks, and you are good to go.
That may sound sensible on the surface, but in reality, it is a gross oversimplification. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you may want to engage an estate planning lawyer to help you put your plan in place.
Make Sound Asset Transfer Choices
As a layperson, there is no reason why you would know all of your options without some guidance. A simple will is not the best asset transfer document for many folks, and we are not just talking about very wealthy individuals.
Generally speaking, you would be allowing for direct, lump sum inheritances if you state your final wishes in a last will. If you have someone in the family that is not good with money, this can be a source of concern.
There is also the matter of special needs planning. If you would like to help out a loved one with a disability, they may rely on need-based government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. A direct inheritance could cause a loss of eligibility.
These are a couple of the scenarios that can exist, but there are many others. There is a right and a wrong way to address every situation, and you should make informed choices.
Passing along everything that you have accumulated in your life to the people that you love the most is an important act. You should certainly proceed with caution and make sure that you are providing for your family members in the ideal manner.
Follow Procedures Correctly
State laws come into play when assets are transferred after someone passes away. For example, there are those that think that the executor of a will can simply follow the instructions and act independently.
In reality, the will would be admitted to probate, and the court would determine the validity of the will. There are certain requirements, and if anyone wanted to issue a challenge, they could come forward during probate.
The will itself is one factor, but there are administrative rules that must be followed correctly as well. Laws also apply to the proper creation of trusts so when you try to do these things by yourself without any legal guidance, anything can happen.
Anticipate the Eventualities of Aging
In order to be able to provide suitable inheritances, you have to make smart moves along the way. If you run into significant expenses that you did not anticipate, your estate cupboard may be empty.
In fact, there is a looming threat to your legacy in the form of long-term care costs. More than one third of elders will eventually reside in nursing homes, and these facilities are extremely expensive. Medicare will not help with the costs so they can consume your legacy.
Medicaid does pay for nursing home care, but you cannot qualify if you have significant assets in your own name. That being said, if you position your assets wisely, you can ensure your own financial security and be prepared to qualify for Medicaid if and when you need long-term care.
Attend a Free Webinar!
We have traditionally conducted in-person seminars to share important estate planning and elder law information with our neighbors. For the time being, we have transitioned to webinars as a reaction to the coronavirus, and the convenience makes them quite appealing for many folks.
You can check out the dates if you visit our webinar page, and if you decide that you would like to attend one of the sessions, follow the simple instructions to reserve your spot.