Most people do not have estate plans in place, and many of them are well aware of the fact that they should take action. The reason why they procrastinate is because they really do not know where to begin.
With this in mind, we will provide a brief outline in this post so you can start to think about the structure of your plan if you have not done so already.
Create an Inheritance List
Clearly, some people have very straightforward inheritance planning intentions. For example, you and your spouse may agree that everything should be split equally among your three children.
For others, the situation is not as cut and dried. If you fit into the latter category, you should take the time to ask yourself some hard questions and decide how you want to divide the pie.
There is also the matter of family heirlooms and art, vintage musical instruments, antiques, and other items that are hard to come by. You can stop and think about each item and make choices with regard to the right inheritor for each respective possession.
Explore Asset Transfer Methods
In addition to the simple will, there are a number different trusts that can be used to facilitate asset transfers. It is important to understand the fact that a will must be admitted to probate, and this is a time-consuming and costly process.
Generally speaking, you would be allowing for lump sum inheritances if you state your final wishes in a will, and you may prefer a long-term approach.
The revocable living trust is a very good choice for a wide range of people, and there are other trusts that satisfy various specific objectives. You should become fully apprised of all your options so that you make informed decisions.
Consider Long-Term Care Costs
Most senior citizens will need living assistance eventually, and over one third of them will ultimately reside in nursing homes. Medicare does not pay for this type of care, and the annual charge for a room in a nursing home in our area is well in excess of $100,000.
This is an important matter, and Medicaid does pay for this type of care. It takes careful planning, but it is possible to position your assets with future Medicaid eligibility in mind.
Address Incapacity Planning
Alzheimer’s disease strikes more than 30 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older, and the figure is 10 percent for all senior citizens. Of course, Alzheimer’s causes dementia, and people with this condition become unable to make sound decisions on their own.
This is not the only cause of cognitive impairment, and there are other types of incapacity that render people unable to communicate. If you do nothing to prepare for these eventualities, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on your behalf.
You can make your own choices in advance if you execute the appropriate incapacity planning documents.
Take Action Today!
When you have developed some general ideas with regard to how you would like to proceed, it is time to have a meaningful discussion with an estate planning attorney.
We know that a lot of people find it a bit difficult to talk about personal matters with an attorney that have just met. This is fully understandable, but if you feel this way, you can rest assured that we have the ability to make our clients feel comfortable every step of the way.
If you are ready to set the wheels in motion, we can be reached by phone at 802-879-7133. If you would rather send us a message, simply fill our contact form and we will get back in touch with you promptly.