I asked my staff what I should talk about today and one of them said, people have to know how important estate planning is…
I see people every day who didn’t plan ahead, and it can make life very hard for them, so I wanted to go over a few points to show why you should engage in estate planning.
Whether the time is right to start estate planning or not, you should stop what you’re doing and think about if you’ve properly planned to protect your hard-earned money, property and your family.
So why is estate planning important?
First, Protect Your Home.
I love my home, I’m working to pay for design changes and upgrades, and it’s going to take me thirty years to pay off my mortgage. My home is important to me. I invest a lot of time, money and energy into my home and for a lot of Americans, it is the biggest asset they have.
You want to protect that asset, right?
Here is why you should put in place your estate plan to protect your home.
· It will help you stay in control of your home for the rest of your life.
· It will help protect your home if the state tries to take it to pay for a health care situation.
· Your home can be part of the legacy you pass on to your children.
It can be simple to protect your home. A Ladybird Deed is one way.
Second, Protect Your Family.
I love my wife and my kids. If a situation occurs where a catastrophic health care situation happens and I need long term care, I would want long term care insurance in place. By having this insurance, all my assets do not have to be spent down and used to pay for that health care. I don’t want my wife and kids to live in poverty, so I need to put an estate plan in place. That’s very important to me.
A person who has long term care insurance is protecting everything they have worked for, including their home. Even if you do have long term care insurance in place, you still want to set up your other foundational documents.
· General Durable Power of Attorney
You should have a document that allows your spouse to act as you financially, as long as you trust them.
· General Healthcare Power of Attorney
· Living Will
These documents allow someone you trust to act as you if something happens to you and you’re unable to act for yourself.
It is simple to put these documents in place.
Third, Protect Your Finances.
A great way to protect your finances is through Trusts.
Let’s say you have a large amount of money, but you don’t want it all going to a grandchild in one lump sum when they reach eighteen. We use Trusts to protect that money for you and your grandchild by assigning a Trustee. This could be one of your children, someone you trust. That money could help them through college, or a trade school. Then, after they matured a little, maybe at twenty-five, the Trust could distribute a larger portion of the funds to them over time, say ten percent a year, so they don’t get it all in one go.
Fourth, Flexibility with Benefits.
Let’s say you already have in place long term care insurance. If something occurs, such as you miss a payment, by estate planning and having in place your foundational documents, can allow a spouse or one of your children to come in and do some planning for you, if you are unable to do so yourself. They can organize your assets so that you qualify for long term care Medicaid benefits or a veteran’s benefit.
Fifth, Flexibility and Planning.
Who wants a car with no reverse?
No one wants that, and planning is no different.
You want to build flexibility with plans. A General Durable Power of Attorney provides a reverse. It allows someone you trust to come in and do what’s needed. Let’s say you have backed into a corner with benefits planning, and your wife needs to take over and protect some assets another way. As long as your spouse has been appointed to handle your finances, they could do that. That helps you and your family. This allows for a reverse in the plan if needed.
When we put together a comprehensive estate plan, we try to see every avenue, and anticipate every turn, but as much as I think about those things, I’m not a fortune teller, which is why we need to plan.
We want to provide flexibility in the planning because of the unforeseen. These are the reasons estate planning is so important.
If you have any questions please call our office, 704-259-7040, or visit our website mcelderlaw.com. Our team will be ready to help you. I’m Greg McIntyre of McIntyre Elder Law and I’m here to protect your assets and legacy.
Elder Law Attorney