There is a difference between good estate planning and an uninformed, hope for the best DIY approach. When you work with our firm to develop a properly constructed plan, your wishes will be carried out correctly, and your family will benefit. In this post, we will look at the advantages, and we will follow up with a second installment.
Effective and Efficient Asset Transfers
A will is usually not going to be the best choice as an asset transfer vehicle unless the situation is extremely simple. First, you provide lump sum inheritances all at once if you use a will with no other provisions.
This can be problematic if you are leaving resources to someone with no experience, or worse yet, a history of poor money management. And of course, minor children cannot handle their own resources, and this is another consideration.
If you are leaving a life changing amount of money to someone that is not fully developed as a person, a large direct inheritance can eliminate their motivation. On another note, for someone with a disability, a change in financial status can cause a loss of eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
There are targeted estate planning solutions that can be implemented to address these issues and others. You can choose from many different tools in the estate planning toolkit, and we can explain your options so you can make good estate planning decisions.
A lot of people think that the endeavor is strictly confined to financial matters. In fact, good estate planning will extend to end-of-life issues. Obviously, it is not a very pleasant subject, but a lot of people become unable to handle their own affairs late in their lives.
If you do nothing to prepare for this possibility, a conservator could be appointed by the state to act as your representative. You can avoid this and take the matter into your own hands if you include an incapacity component in your broader estate plan.
For financial matters, you can name a disability trustee if you have a living trust. A durable power of attorney for property can be used to name someone to manage assets that are not held by a trust.
There is also the matter of health care decision-making. You can assert your life-support utilization choices in a living will. To address situations that are not related to life-support usage, you can name an agent in a durable power of attorney for health care.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was enacted back in 1996. It was put into place to protect the privacy of patients. Under a provision contained in this measure, doctors cannot discuss medical conditions with anyone other than the patient.
To give your health care agent and anyone else that you choose the ability to communicate freely with your doctors, you should include a HIPAA release in your incapacity plan.
Here is another thing to think about that many people overlook. Let’s say that your daughter goes away to college in another state when she is 18 years of age. All of her life, you have spoken with her physicians about any medical situations that have arisen.
Late one night you get a phone call from her roommate saying that she was in an accident, she is in the hospital, and she cannot communicate. Under those circumstances, the medical professionals will not be able to speak with you about her condition.
This is a dramatization, but you get the idea. As soon as your children become adults in the eyes of the law, they should execute HIPAA releases to give you the legal right to access their medical records.
Schedule a Consultation!
If you are ready to engage a Westport or Glastonbury, CT estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, our doors are open. You can call us at 860-548-1000 to set up a consultation, and you can use our contact form if you would rather send us a message.