Labor Day is a Good Day to Talk About Your Future! You’ve worked hard (labored) all your life and have accumulated an Estate. Yes, I said Estate, you have one! Everyone has an Estate, from meager to millions, everyone has an Estate. The question is: Do You Have an Estate Plan?
What is an Estate you ask?
An Estate is all of your assets. Your home, your vehicles, 401k plans, stocks, bonds, annuities, personal property, coin collections, jewelry. Perhaps you want those things to be left to specific people. Enter Estate Plans. From the most minimal, like just Powers of Attorney, to Wills, and Trusts, we are expert in asking you key questions and accumulating key information from you, that will enable us to create your own personal, unique, Estate Plan.
We are fluent in the area of Estate Planning and Elder Law. Not elderly? No problem, we cater to all ages young and older. You may think you are too young to create an Estate Plan. Do you want control over the who, what, when, and where your assets go when you pass? Do you want all of your assets going to the court system and lawyers, and your loved ones having to go through the Probate process which averages over a years time? Do you want doctors, and possibly the court, to make medical decisions for you, not having to listen to the people who loved and cherished you the most? What if you had everything laid out, and the person you chose to carry out your wishes only has to follow the instruction you left behind? This is the one of the many benefits of creating an Estate Plan!
Perhaps you are approaching what we define as Elderly. You especially need an Estate Plan. Unfortunately it is not the most pleasant subject, but the older you get, the more likely it is that you will accrue some type of illness or disease. Illness and disease can cause you to eventually become incapacitated. If you are married, that may lay a heavy burden on your Spouse. Perhaps your divorced and have children, it would be your children left with the burden. No parent wants that. Nursing Homes in Florida average 8 to 10 thousand dollars a month. If you are more affluent you will be expected to pay this out of pocket. However, there are ways to protect your Legacy, and we know all of them. You could call them tricks of the trade, we prefer to call it knowledge and experience. Being experienced and seasoned in Elder Law lends that extra element to Estate Planning for those it applies to. Do not dismay young ones, we are also adept in Business Planning, LLC creation and Asset Protection. Labor Day is a Good Day to Talk About Your Future!
At what age should you have an Estate Plan?
At what age do you want to have control over your end of life decisions? Life is not promised and is unpredictable.
At the minimum we suggest that from age 25-30 you should have:
- Advanced Healthcare Directives, which are important should you become incapacitated. These documents include a Healthcare Surrogate Designation, also known as a Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney.
- HIPPA Authorization, which will enable those you list and choose to obtain medical information about you. In this time of COVID-19, hospitals and doctors are more inclined to isolate you and not allow anyone to come in and visit you. This can cause undue stress on your loved ones, further these entities do not legally have to tell your loved ones anything unless you have given express permission as defined in the HIPPA privacy laws. With a HIPPA Authorization document, you choose who has the right to know your condition, the tests which have been given you, the results, medications you are on, and your general prognosis. Otherwise, your loved ones may be left in the dark.
- You need a Living Will, which is active while you are still alive. A Living Will will define your wishes should you become incapacitated. There a lot of things to consider. Do you want to be a organ donor? Do you want to be resuscitated if you are in a vegetative state and continue to exist in a vegetative state because you have chosen to do so? Perhaps you do not. These are all your decisions and perhaps your loved ones do not really know your wishes as it is not something that comes up in general conversation. If you do not have these documents in place someone else will choose for you, possibly not knowing what your true wishes are. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Again, a decision that will be made for you without the proper Estate Planning documents in place.
- A Durable Power Attorney. This is also referred to as a Financial Power of Attorney. Do you want your loved ones to be able to take over your finances effortlessly? Do you want them to be able to receive what you leave them without aggravation? Banks, Insurance Companies, Government agencies, all differ and all have different requirements to be able to claim or collect your assets and existing accounts. Having a Durable Power Attorney gives who you chose as your Personal Representative, or Executor of your Will the power to control and settle your Estate as easily and smoothly as possible.
- You will need everything that you should have had from 25-30. Now that you have a family, you need a Last Will and Testament at the very least to make sure a guardian is appointed to take care of your children should something happen to you. A Last Will and Testament becomes active when you pass. It enables you to have a say in what happen to your assets. For example:
- You can leave your Estate to someone who is not a blood relative, someone who, without an Estate Plan, would not be able to inherit from you at all.
- you can leave money to a church or other charitable organization.
- You can disinherit a relative whom you do not want to inherit part of your Estate.
- You can leave everything to your dog. (You would be surprised how often this happens)
Whatever you choose you get to decide. Not the State. In addition to saying who receives your Estate, a Will also states who will be in charge of your Estate during Probate-because, unlike a Trust, a Will must be probated. Probate may be a scary word and you may have heard of horror stories, but having a Will will negate a lot of those headaches. A Will clearly defines your wishes and will likely be executed exactly how you wished. If you do not have an Estate Plan state law decides who gets your assets when you die. These laws (often called “intestacy laws”) generally provide that your estate will go to your blood relatives, if you do not have an Estate plan.
You have saved your money over the years. Now you are thinking about the Legacy you want to leave your loved ones. You want things to pass smoothly and easily. You certainly do not want to bog them down in the Probate court system after you pass away. Maybe you ant to protect the kids’ inheritance from divorce and law suits. A Living Trust makes sense to achieve these goals. Maybe one of your children is a spendthrift, or has a substance abuse problem. they are still your child and you especially want to leave them something that will enhance their life. with a Trust you get to choose what and when your child receives their inheritance. you can make them wait until age 30 and then dole their inheritance out in small amounts as to keep them from “blowing their inheritance”. we offer several different Living Trust plans designed to meet each clients unique needs.
Labor Day is a Good Day to Talk About Your Future! So this Labor Day, while you are enjoying an extra day off from laboring all year to amass a Legacy to leave behind for the ones you love, and make sure they are taken care of should you pass, why not put some thought into what your own unique Estate Plan might look like. Consider passing Intestate and what that would look like for your loved ones. If your married, have that conversation you have been avoiding. it can actually be a bonding event as you can express to each other your end of life wishes knowing that your partner in life will honor your wishes to the best of their ability. Ask the hard questions and put things into perspective. If after giving it due thought, you decide you need an Estate Plan, we would be honored to help you create your own, unique to you, Estate Plan. Let us ask you the burning questions, get a clear position on what you want and need, and help you to create and protect your Legacy. you can reach one of our Team Legacy members at 904-880-5554 or e-mail: [email protected]
Labor Day is a Good Day to Talk About Your Future!
Happy Labor Day Everyone! From Team Legacy.
Read more related articles at:
Guide to Estate Planning By Age
8 Things You Need for an Estate Plan at Any Age
Also, read one of our previous Blogs at:
Yes, You Need an Estate Plan, Even If You Don’t Have an Estate
Click here to check out our On Demand Video about Estate Planning.