What you will learn:
✅ Why Start with Foundational Planning?
✅ Can Protective Deeds Save My Home?
✅ Are Trusts Right For Me?
Hi, this is Greg McIntyre with McIntyre Elder Law. Good morning. I wish we could do seminars right now. I love speaking to groups and crowds of people, but right now we’re doing our civic duty and wear a mask and stay home and not really go out into mass gathering. So I wanted to give you a seminar, but not something that was going to take 30 minutes or an hour of your time. A seminar in 10 minutes. So here we go. Normally, we sit down and we do a 45 minutes seminar. We do question and answer. Please feel free to send me your questions at the end of this seminar. You can list your question and comments or message me directly if you want to private message me, and I’d be glad to address any of your questions or concerns. Also, if you’re watching this seminar, we’re offering a free consult. So you can go to mcelderlaw.com/bookfreeconsult to sign up for your free consult. That’s mcelderlaw.com/bookfreeconsult.
So many people start with estate planning and they go straight to complicated issues like trust, deed protection, and those are important issues. However, let’s start with foundations. That’s where we should start, and sometimes the most important things you should have in place during your life. Right now, I mean, we’re in a pandemic. We’re scared. There’s financial uncertainty. I may not want to spend money on anything, much less estate planning. Let me tell you why estate planning allows you to take control of your financial future and your future in general. If, heaven forbid, I became incompetent or incapacitated because of accident, illness, or injury, my wife, if I didn’t have a Financial Power of Attorney in place, a General Durable Power of Attorney, would have no way to manage our assets to do anything with real estate. So the first thing that’s important for us to get in place is that Financial Power of Attorney. A Financial Power of Attorney also avoids having her have to go after guardianship for me through the courts and the courts being in control of our assets.
Second, we want to put substitute players, or subs, in there to come in and play our position as our agents for each other. So, if my wife can’t handle my affairs because we’re in a mutual accident, or maybe she passes away before I do, then I want to make sure our oldest son, for example, can come in and step into that role. So on each of these positions, for agents for powers of attorney, for executors and wills, we want to have a substitute. So the second estate planning foundational document we’ll talk about is healthcare Power of Attorney. It’s extremely important you have a Healthcare Power of Attorney in place. It could be argued that it’s more important than the General Durable Power of Attorney, than the Financial Power of Attorney, because it’s making important decisions for you, but only when you can not make your own healthcare decisions for yourself.
So when I’m incompetent or incapacitated, I’m unable to make those healthcare decisions, who’s the one person I want to appoint to make important decisions for me? And I say one person for an important reason. I have six children. You may have children. It’s hard for them to reach the same decision. Sometimes they argue about decisions, important or not. And I don’t want to lay there suffering or not having a decision made that needs to be made in a snap decision or in the moment, it needs to be a quick decision, because I didn’t appoint one of them to be the quarterback, to huddle up the family, make a decision, and then running that play to the doctor in the hospital and the medical staff. It’s important to appoint that one point person, that one quarterback, to make your important healthcare decisions. It could be the most important thing to do in your entire life is to set up that Healthcare Power of Attorney. You also want it well-written, legally drafted in North Carolina, so that it’s HIPAA compliant and medical records can be pulled. Extremely important.
Now, kind of sister document or brother document to the healthcare Power of Attorney is a Living Will, and we want those documents to communicate with each other. A living room well is also called a Declaration for Desire for a Natural Death, and that’s the third foundational document, different than a Do Not Resuscitate Order. That’s a document you make with your healthcare provider, your doctor, that if you’ve been through a lot, maybe you’ve been resuscitated before and you say, “No more.” But if I have a heart attack right now, I would ask you to please revive me because I have kids to feed. I have to work, I have to continue my life. A Declaration for Desire for a Natural Death, a Living Will is different than that. It’s for that last situation where you’re terminal, incurable, you’re being maintained by artificial respiration, for example, artificial nutrition, hydration. How do you want to be treated in that situation? Is it okay to let me go, if the only medical procedures that can be done or what I prolonged my suffering?
I would say yes. And I want to make sure I absolve and relieve from liability the hospital, the doctors, as well as my healthcare agent for complying with my wishes. It’s my voice in the room when I can’t speak. It also allows me to incorporate religious preferences, such as to be ministered to before I pass, and it allows me to not be stuck in limbo indefinitely. If I don’t have a healthcare agent or if there’s something wrong, a court has to come in and try to decide what happens to me. It allows me to take control. In estate planning, everything we’re talking about allows you to stay in control and not be a victim of circumstance, not be a victim of what’s happening around you, not be a victim of time passing.
Even if you’re incapacitated, incompetent, you can appoint the agent who’s in charge of your finances, healthcare, your voice can be in the room to decide that last moment, if you’re ever in that situation, which is a horrible situation to be in where, say, brain death has occurred, you’re being maintained by respirators, and I want to say that it’s okay to let me go and I don’t want my body to linger on and suffer indefinitely.
And last but not least for foundational planning, a will. A will is a document that’s been around for thousands of years, literally. It used to be oral now written. It allows you to decide who’s in charge, your executor, who’s in charge of executing your will, making sure that the money, property that has to change title and get to heirs, get to the kids, for example, the grandkids, make sure that’s handled properly at the courthouse. That’s the executor. We want to have a backup in there that can handle that job if the primary executor you appoint can’t do that job for any reason. Also, that allows you to appoint who gets money and property or designate who gets money and property as a bequest who’s an heir of the estate. You may want your husband, your wife to get everything first and then secondarily your children. You may want to set aside some for grandchildren.
You may want to say that we want to designate some to go into trust, just in case someone is not 18 or we want to make sure we set out money in discretionary trust coming out of the will to make sure college is paid for and that what could be a blessing doesn’t become a curse by cursing a young person with too much money. And you may have seen that it happened to young people before where they had too much, much too early before they had it the advantage of life experience and education to help guide them through that, through how to properly spend the money you gave them. So General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Will extremely important to have. Foundations are extremely important. A house built on sand shall fall, so you want a firm foundation, and then we can start stacking on things like deep retention, like a life estate deed, or ladybird deed to fully protect your house against a Medicaid recovery in case you need long-term care and Medicaid has to pay.
Also, not accountable asset transfer for the ladybird deed that can protect the home. And or we might want to look at trust to put liquid assets, retirement assets, to place the home or any other real estate in a trust. We may want that trust to be irrevocable so that it’s not an accountable asset for a Medicaid recovery and Medicaid qualification if we want Medicaid, or maybe that’s a possibility, they might have to come in and pay for long-term care or assisted living later in life. We may want to look at a convertible trust. That allows the assets to be under your control right now and then convert either at your election or because of, say, a healthcare event, a very threatening healthcare event that threatens longterm care, converts it to an irrevocable trust to protect those assets. It could be the house, other real estate, other liquid assets.
That is a summary in under 10 minutes of some great estate planning tools that we offer and that you should think about for you and your family. During this time, you have the ability to take control of your estate plan, to take control of what happens to you hard earned money and property. And we at McIntyre Elder Law are here to help you. We offer consults by phone, by video chat, or in person, and we set those up easily all the time. And I’m going to hand over you the ability to set that up yourself. You can go to mcelderlaw.com/bookfreeconsult to schedule that free consult today. During this time, as our civic duty, we’re offering free consults to our clients and potential clients. Once you’re a client of ours, you also receive free e-docs access, which is bank level security system storage of all documents, a case manager that reviews all documents for spelling mistakes, address corrections, name spellings before we sit down at the signing table because we respect your time and we believe in quality and control and we want to deliver a quality service and product to our clients.
You also receive free annual reviews every year, because we know your life will change and we want your estate plan to grow with you as you age and as life changes. We’re here to help you at McIntyre Elder Law. Give us a call, 704-749-9244 to ask any questions or set up your free consult today. Have a great day.