Things will change in the future for your family if you are either in declining health or the worst happens. Your family needs to be taken care of in terms of finances and when making decisions on your behalf. An estate plan is both a plan for your property and a set of powers and instructions for your family to care for you and act in your stead when you can no longer make your own decisions.
Everyone associates a will with an estate plan. While a will may be a part of your estate plan, it should not be the only part. Your estate plan may be a combination of measures to transfer your property to your heirs. In this regard, there are several ways to hand your property down to your heirs, including:
Some families may opt for a combination of these measures, but the important thing is to have something in place. Otherwise, your assets can be at risk if you need extensive medical care towards the end of your life. Your estate may get stuck in the probate process, and you will lose control over who gets what. An estate plan helps you avoid all of these situations. You can transfer property out of your name and into the trust, ensuring that a trustee with a fiduciary obligation manages your money. You can also put your wishes down on paper in a binding document (assuming that the will is valid) for the property you worked hard for over your lifetime. You likely have plans for how you want to take care of loved ones and perhaps a charity that is important to you. If you do not have instructions for your property, the court may decide the matter.
Estate plans cover more than assets and property. While the word “estate” implies the transfer of your property, there is more that you need to consider as part of the plan. As your situation changes in life, you may have more difficulty making decisions on your own. Seniors often have trouble managing their finances and are more vulnerable to financial fraud. As their capacity declines, they make more questionable financial decisions that can put their assets (and loved ones’ inheritance at risk). Seniors may need someone to make financial decisions on their behalf.
At the same time, you might not make your own medical decisions. Some people can come to a point where they lack the capacity to understand what the doctor is saying and make the decisions that they want. You may need a family member to work with the doctor and make the decisions you normally would.
Concerning finances and healthcare, an estate plan will give someone power of attorney to make these decisions for you. This way, one person can act when the time comes. They will fill in as your agent.
Estate planning may also include the following:
The alternative to not having an estate plan is your family having to go through difficult guardianship or probate proceedings when your wishes are not down on paper. The estate plan is a series of legally binding documents that locks in your wishes and provides guidance to your family and your assets for them. An estate planning attorney will sit down with you and help you work through the various scenarios and how best to care for your family.
For more information on estate planning and what you may need, you should reach out to a Coral Springs estate planning lawyer at Rosenberg Law Firm. We will learn your priorities, discuss an estate plan with you, and help you execute the necessary documents. Call us today or message us online to schedule an appointment.