The only thing constant is change. As we age, we change, both physically and mentally. Our needs change, our desires change, and even our interests. It follows that our priorities in life change as well.
Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person’s life, for the management and disposal of a person’s estate. Your estate is made up of any real property, personal property, legal right, interest, or entitlement you might own (typically understood as assets), less any liabilities. This is commonly referred to as someone’s net worth. So, what do we do with it? And where does constant change tie in?
Estate planning provides the opportunity for you to make your intent manifest in a set of legal documents. Consider the following:
- Foundational Planning – Last Will & Testament, General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and Living Will
- Revocable & Irrevocable Trusts – Legacy planning, Probate Avoidance, and Asset Protection
- Benefits Planning – VA Benefits, Medicaid Nursing Home Benefits, Crisis Planning to Protect Assets, and Medicaid Home Care Benefits
As our circumstances in life change, these set of talking points become more relevant to our daily lives. What was once something that was never considered, now easily becomes a cause of major uncertainty and concern.
In all situations, start with the basics. Lay the foundation. Decide who will be your legally appointed decision makers to assist you in making decisions now or in the future. Should it be the same person helping with financial decisions as with healthcare decisions? Consider the disposition of your property. Where should it end up? Who do I want to give it to when I pass away? Who do I want to appoint to make sure that my wishes are carried out once I am gone?
In all things, consider the benefit of securing counsel to serve as a guide through the estate planning landscape. An attorney can assist in bringing awareness to concerns you might not know you should have had or to enlighten you on available or alternative benefits you simply did not know existed. They should also serve to make sure all documents are drafted and executed correctly to ensure their legal significance when the time comes. Services of the right attorney should prove invaluable.
Once the foundation is laid, you can start to build up. You can get specific with your planning and reduce the number of unknowns that life potentially throws at you. While there is no way to totally eliminate risk in life, we can certainly engage in proper planning to mitigate the negative consequences of the unforeseeable.
Awareness is key but simply knowing is not enough. Young individuals, newly formed families, those in the thick of their careers, and, especially, those looking toward retirement…it is imperative that you take the time to consider your estate plan or, worse yet, the absence of one. Plan for yourself. Plan for your family. Plan for both now and the future.
Our experienced team of professionals at McIntyre Elder Law welcome the opportunity to speak with you about all things Estate Planning. Please reach out to us at 704-749-9244 or visit our website at www.mcelderlaw.com to schedule your consultation today. Thank you for reading and we look forward to serving you!
Attorney at Law