Elder law, Medicaid,
wills, trusts, power of attorney, guardianship- unless you live under a rock,
you have most likely heard of these terms. While many Americans are familiar
with the concept of 'estate planning,' few actually have an estate plan in
According to a news release by the NAEPC Education
only 35% of Americans report having a will in place and only 21% have set up a
trust. The Foundation went on to say, "It is estimated that 120,000,000
Americans do not have up-to-date estate plans to protect themselves and their
families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death."
Why is it so
dangerous to not have an estate plan in place? To explain it simply: if you
fail to set one up and you pass away unexpectedly, it will be your loves one's
that have to pay the price. Also, an estate plan kicks into effect after
you have an accident or suffer from an illness that leaves you incapacitated.
In other words, it can benefit your future as well.
To elaborate when
individuals don't set up estate plans and get into serious accidents, it is not
uncommon for loved ones to be uncertain about their family's members healthcare
preferences and dying wishes. This can create additional anxiety for your
family and can result in you not getting the medical care you would desire. Your
legacy is everything and your family will want to protect it at all costs, but
it is up to you to inform them about what your specific wishes are.
Estate plans answer
questions such as, who will take care of my kids if I die? Who will pay the
bills? Who will take care of my pets? Who will run my business? If you do not
establish an estate plan, all of your loved ones will have to go to probate
court. If everyone agrees on these major decisions, the process can go
relatively smoothly. When this does not happen, however (which is not
uncommon), the process can quickly become quite complex, overwhelming and
expensive. The court also has to get heavily involved which means personal,
sentimental decisions that could have been largely handled by your family will
instead be dictated by judges and court orders.
In short, the money
you can save by not making an estate plan is not worth it, compared to the
conflict and anxiety you could cause your family. For more information about
estate planning and why it is important you create an estate plan, contact KWK
Your legacy is everything. If
you fail to take steps to protect your assets now, your loved ones will deal
with the financial headache later. While nobody tends to view estate planning
in a positive light, taking this important life step will make sure your money
stays in the hands of your loved ones.
While more than half of
Americans don't have a will in place, having this document in place is
essential as it allows you to name an executor of your estate whom you trust to
distribute your assets (rather than forcing the courts to name an
administrator). Through estate planning you can also establish a living trust,
which can help you bypass probate entirely.
Estate planning also allows you
to designate power of attorney as well, or in other words, it allows you to
choose whom you wish to handle matters on your behalf, in the event that you
become ill. Financial power of attorney allows someone to handle your finances
whereas medical power of attorney allows an individual to make medical
decisions on your behalf.
Estate planning also allows you
to inform loved ones of your wishes concerning end-of-life preferences. An
attorney can help you set up an advance directive which puts into writing all
of these important requests. Estate planning not only protects your future, it
protects your present. A well-crafted estate plan will shield your assets from
lawsuits and save you on taxes each year.
Why start the process of estate
planning today? Waiting to take this important step could cause havoc in your
family's lives if catastrophe were to strike unexpectedly. You can never be too
prepared. Estate planning can allow you to make these important decisions
should be done if you were to become incapacitated
should happen to your kids or spouse if something tragic happens to you
nursing home you would like to be placed into and other Medicaid decisions
ways you can best protect your assets from death taxes, probate, etc. For
example, you can learn how giving to charities or loved ones now can
protect your assets!
Your loved ones and your
possessions are the legacy you will leave behind. Start planning smartly now to
leave behind the best possible legacy! At KWK we handle a wide range of
estate planning related issues including asset protection, business formation,
elder law, probate, probate administration and social security disability.