What is Durable Power of Attorney? Power of Attorney is simply a legal document that is drafted by your legal counsel to iterate your wishes for yourself and your assets should you become incapacitated or rendered incompetent via illness, an accident, or by aging.
Durable Powers of Attorney are arguably one of the most important legal documents. POAs must be extremely detailed and allow you to give control of your assets to someone that you have selected and trust without question. If poorly constructed, you could find these decisions being made by an attorney who does not know your wishes or your needs.
Conversely, in the event that you are left incapacitated or declared incompetent a properly drafted and executed POA will allow your designated attorney to make important decisions for you. This can include an array of financial and medical responsibilities as well as making end of life care decisions.
What Is Estate Planning? Estate planning encompasses several things. The most common is known as a Last Will and Testament. You may have heard of a Will, but do you really understand their purpose?
Estate planning allows for the creation of a plan that reflects your values and desires for your assets. There is no “one size fits all“ approach that can be taken in this planning. These plans must be customizable to each individual’s needs.
Without having, at minimum, a Will in place when you pass away, your estate will go into probate. Probate is the legal process of determining who will acquire the assets of your estate. This process will have to take place with or without a Will, but a Will spells out your intentions for distribution of your assets and the courts usually go along with what you have spelled out in the Will.
What if you still have minor children at the time of your passing? Who will get insurance payments? Who will take care of your children and their needs? Setting up a Trust and a Trust Administrator will ensure your family is cared for long after you can no longer make the important decisions.
What is Elder Law? We have an ever-growing elderly population that is living longer than ever before. This being the case, we are seeing rises in healthcare and long-term care costs. What does this mean? Planning for your future has never been more important. With the proper guidance and counseling, you will navigate through the process of protecting your assets and making yourself eligible for assistance available to cover much of the healthcare and long-term care costs you will one day be faced with.
Many people make plans for when they pass away, but how many think to plan for the unexpected, like becoming incapacitated; being unable to control their own finances or healthcare decisions? Failure to plan for unexpected incapacity makes your family have to petition the court to have you declared incompetent. This allows for a court, who has never met you, to make the decisions for you.
A big part of Life Planning is thinking about who is going to step in and manage your finances and medical care if you should become incapacitated. Many believe this will automatically fall to a spouse or an adult child to handle, but the truth is, without legal planning and documents in place, this will be completely out of your hands and control. We can help you make your choices and wishes known now, rather than hoping it all works out in the future.
The need for Long Term Care can take a toll on your finances. The median nursing home costs have now exceeded $100,000 annually. Medicare may help pay a small portion, but most individuals end up depleting their hard-earned savings in hopes that Medicaid will step in and cover the costs.
What if there was a way to qualify for Medicaid assistance while still protecting your assets? That’s where our experience comes in. We will guide you through legal the process of protecting your assets.
What Is Estate Probate? Probate is the process taken to distribute your assets after you pass away. A probate court will step in to oversee this process if proper planning has not been done.
You can keep your loved ones from having to go through the probate process by having jointly owned bank accounts or properties. However, this is not always convenient. The best way to avoid probate may be by establishing of a Revocable Living Trust.
With a Revocable Living Trust will require a trustee to manage the assets of the trust. You will spell out the specifics of who that will be and any successors in the terms of the trust. However, while you are alive and well, the trustee most likely be you. Upon your death or disability, the successor you have chosen will step in and follow the terms of the trust you set up.
There are several options available with a Revocable Living Trust. Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through every step of this process.
Making a will is especially important for people with young children, because wills are the best way to transfer guardianship of minors.
You may amend your will at any time. In fact, it’s a good idea to review it periodically and especially when your marital status changes. At the same time, review your beneficiary designations for your 401(k), IRA, pension and life insurance policy since those accounts will be transferred automatically to your named beneficiaries when you die.
A will is also useful if you have a trust. A trust is a legal mechanism that lets you put conditions on how your assets are distributed after you die and it often lets you minimize gift and estate taxes. But you still need a will since most trusts deal only with specific assets such as life insurance or a piece of property, but not the sum total of your holdings.