Top Two Concerns for Your Estate
If you think estate planning is just for the wealthy, think again. Everyone has an estate worth planning for; some are just more complex than others. Facing one’s own mortality can be an uncomfortable subject, but ignoring the inevitable can cause unnecessary pain and conflict for your loved ones.
In this article, we will explore the top two concerns when considering how to handle your estate plan.
1. Incapacity Issues
If you became incapacitated, who would make decisions based on your behalf? If you’re married, you’d probably guess your spouse. If you’re at least 18 years of age and living at home, you’d probably say your parents. Both answers are incorrect.
On your 18th birthday, you are considered an adult, who is responsible for your own decisions. Whether you are married or single, you must appoint agents through proper Durable Powers of Attorney to make personal, financial and health care decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacity. Alternatively, a court process involving at least three lawyers is required to appoint agents to make such decisions for you under the ongoing supervision of the court. This can be expensive and invasive of your privacy.
2. Matters Concerning Minor Children
Consider how you would feel upon hearing the story of children abandoned by their parents. After the shock, you might reflect on how much you love and care for your own children: you nurture them, you impart morals and values and you search for the right babysitter.
However, if you pass away prematurely without a plan in place, your children will be in the same predicament—orphaned -- with their fate determined by the court.
In some states, you can appoint guardians for your minor children only through a Last Will & Testament. Without this, an expensive and public process is required to appoint them. Moreover, the court may not designate the same parties you would have selected.
While not every subject concerning estate planning is easy to discuss, it is the mission of Foster Swift’s estate planning attorneys to help you navigate potential pitfalls of not having a plan in place.
Stay tuned as the followup to this article will cover the concerns surrounding death & estate tax, inheritance risks and the perils of procrastination.
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.
COVID-19 Checklist & Elder Organizer Tool
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.
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.
- Long-Term Care
- VA Aid & Attendance
- Personal Property Tax
- Digital Assets
- Alerts and Updates
- Fraud & Abuse
- Senior Exploitation & Abuse
- Powers of Attorney
- Legislative Updates
- Health Care Reform
- Medicaid Planning
- Elder Law
- Financing Long-term Care
- Estate Planning
- Did you Know?
- Dementia & Alzheimer's
E-book Covers Estate Planning Essentials
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?
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.