The Importance of Planning: Legally and Financially
The term “estate planning”, generally means making decisions now for times in the future when you may not be able to make decisions for yourself. Proper estate planning addresses both health care and financial decisions, during your lifetime and after your death. Having an estate plan in place can make a significant difference in how decisions are made for you in the future.
We all enjoy the right to make our own health care choices. However, it is important to have an Advance Directive for Health Care in place that would allow your designee to make decisions for you if you aren’t able to make them for yourself. You can also decide now whether you choose to have life support and tube feeding later on. It is up to you to decide what decisions will be made.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document used to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to manage your affairs in the future. You may give your Agent broad powers or limited powers as you choose. You can modify the Power of Attorney at any time in the future, as long as you understand the changes you are making.
After you pass away, your Will specifies who will be your Personal Representative, and what will be done with your assets. After you pass away, the Probate Court empowers the Personal Representative to act, and oversees the administration of your estate. The Court ensures that your choices are carried out and that the beneficiaries of your estate are treated fairly.
A Revocable Living Trust is an alternative to a Will. A Trust creates a legal entity. Your assets are transferred into the trust, and are managed according to your instructions. In your trust, you can designate who will manage your assets, how they are managed, and who will receive them after you pass away. There is generally no court involvement with a trust.
There are many different combinations of estate planning tools that your attorney may recommend for your situation. Making these plans ahead of time may also help your loved ones with issues such as paying for long term care, later on. Proper estate planning ensures that your wishes will be carried out later on, when you may not be able to speak on your own behalf.
Article provided by:
Douglas, Conroyd, and Gibb