People often resolve to take care of matters that they have been placing on the back burner when a new year comes along. Now that 2023 is underway, a lot of resolutions are being considered.
From an estate planning perspective, two out of every three American adults are completely unprepared. This even extends to older people. According to studies, over half of folks that are 55 years of age and older do not have wills or trusts.
Most unprepared people that responded to a Caring.com estate planning preparedness survey stated that they knew that it was important. They did not take action for various reasons, and simple procrastination was one of them. In addition, a significant percentage of the respondents said they simply do not know where to begin.
Legal Counsel Is Invaluable
Those that are frozen with inaction because they don’t know where to start are overlooking an available pathway. Yes, it can be difficult for a layperson to know how to proceed. Many are unsure about the differences between a will and a trust, and they are hesitant to make any firm decisions. After all, who knows what the future holds with regard to your financial capabilities?
This is understandable, but a simple appointment with an estate planning attorney from our firm can get you on the right track. We will gain an understanding of your family dynamic, your financial situation, and your objectives. Subsequently, we will help you devise a plan that is ideal for you and your family.
Every estate plan will facilitate postmortem asset transfers. A will is the most commonly used estate planning document, but it is less than ideal in many if not most cases. First, a will must be admitted to probate. This is a legal process that takes place under the supervision of a court.
Probate is time-consuming and expensive, and there is a loss of privacy because interested parties can access the records. A revocable living trust will facilitate asset transfers outside of probate. Plus, there is asset protection for the beneficiaries, and you can instruct the trustee to provide limited distributions over an extended period of time if you choose to do so.
This is one possibility as an alternative to a simple will. However, there are many other types of trusts that satisfy specific objectives. For instance, you can provide incentives, and there are trusts that are used to preserve government benefits for people with disabilities.
The right choices will depend on the circumstances, and you can make informed decisions when you discuss your options with a lawyer.
Your plan should address the challenges that you may face toward the end of your life. First, there is the matter of long-term care. Most seniors will need it, and Medicare does not cover custodial care.
Medicaid will pay the bills if you can gain eligibility. Even though it is a need-based program, there are ways that you can divest yourself of assets effectively with future eligibility in mind.
Your plan should also address incapacity. A living will is used to state your life-support preferences. The plan should include a durable power of attorney for health care to name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf that are not related to life-support.
For property management, you can include a durable power of attorney for property. And if you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee to administer the trust in the event of your incapacity.
We Are Here to Help!
Today is the day for action if you have been going through life without a plan for the future that culminates in the effective passing of your legacy. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment at our Westport or Glatonbury, CT estate planning offices, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.
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