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Three Concerns for Your Estate

When it comes to transferring possessions upon your death, you can either make it easy on your loved ones through proper estate planning or you can leave it up to the court system. Prior planning is the more efficient and effective option. There are a variety of planning methods available depending on your unique situation.

For example, Revocable Living Trusts are commonly used to transfer assets after death, independent of the legal system in many states.

In a previous blog, the top two concerns for estate planning were discussed: incapacity issues and minor children matters. If you think estate planning is only for the wealthy, think again. Everyone has an estate worth planning; some are just more complex than others. This blog features a look into the other three concerns when considering your estate plan.

Death & Estate Tax

Proper estate planning can save payment of unnecessary federal estate tax if the value of your estate exceeds the federal exemption amount (currently $11.18 million for individuals or double that for a married couple). If you are married, the law allows the surviving spouse to make a special election to utilize any unused portion of the exemption of the first spouse to pass away.

Inheritance Risks

Leaving an inheritance behind to provide for your heirs seems like a positive decision. However, the outcome may be far from what you intended if you haven’t considered the potential risks. What if that inheritance were to be squandered by a short-sighted 18 year old on an expensive sports car, leaving the heir broke but fashionable? What about money left to a previously happy couple now engaged in a bitter divorce? What would happen if the heir were involved in a lawsuit or bankruptcy? Proper planning through one or more Long-Term Discretionary Trusts will protect and preserve an inheritance for generations to come.

Procrastination Perils

While using precious time to think about death is often a dreadful task, each moment you procrastinate in preparing your estate increases the likelihood that those you leave behind will not only mourn your passing but the lack of planning as well. Passing away without a basic will or with one that is outdated and no longer meets your needs, will tie your loved ones up in legal knots at a most vulnerable time in their lives.

Don’t know what to do next or where to start? Contact a Foster Swift estate planning attorney to help guide you through your end-of-life issues.

Categories: Elder Law, Estate Planning

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Survivor's Checklist:

Due to the shock of the death of a spouse or a loved one, the steps of what needs to be done first can be an overwhelming process for the survivor(s). To aid in the breakdown and to act as a tool amidst the emotional days ahead, estate planning Jonathan "Jay" David has assembled a "Survivor's Checklist" of some of the important things that need to be addressed when a spouse or loved one dies.

Resources and Support for Older Adults Living Alone: A Comprehensive Guide (2024):

Below is a comprehensive guide of resources for older adults living alone, empowering them to thrive independently and access essential services. This guide was created and provided with permission by the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Resources and Support for Older Adults Living Alone: A Comprehensive Guide (2024) (ncoa.org)

Elder Organizer Tool:

Foster Swift has created a free ‘Elder Organizer’ digital notebook to provide seniors and their caretakers with a toolkit that helps organize doctors’ appointments, medications, and more that can be shared online. The tools below are also available on the Elder Law Resources page.

*For those trying to access these links by smartphone, it is best practice to copy/open the link in a separate tab and download the free Google Sheets app from Google Play or the Apple Store.

Using the Elder Law OrganizerMedication & Appointments ButtonVisitor Log & Photos/Media ButtonPrivate Care Schedule ButtonElder Law Resources Button

COVID-19 Checklist:

For adult children responsible for their elderly parents and other senior caretakers concerned about protecting loved ones as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, below is a free downloadable checklist of steps to follow to prepare for any possible COVID-19-related illnesses among the most-vulnerable.

Download Button: Checklist

E-book Covers Estate Planning Essentials

Estate Planning Cover

Engaging in estate planning, while essential, is often emotional and generates many questions. How do I protect my spouse and my children if something happens to me? What happens if I become disabled before I pass on? Who will take care of my pet after I'm gone? How do I pass my business on to my children? These questions and more are addressed in Jonathan David’s recently updated e-book, “Estate Planning: You Have to Start in Order to Finish.”

Need Help Planning?

Helping Hands

For more tools, visit our Elder Law Resource page for additional content. Click here to view/download the Foster Swift estate planning brochure to see what our experienced team of attorneys can do for you.