A proper estate plan should provide for the following: (1) the ability to control your property while you are alive and able, (2) planning for you and your loved ones should you become disabled, and (3) after you die, making sure your assets go to the people you love without unnecessary cost or delay. Moreover, for an estate plan to be effective there needs to be proper asset ownership and control of the process.
Every person over the age of eighteen, at the very least, needs a financial power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, and a will. The powers of attorney are for when you are alive but for whatever reason, are unable to manage your assets or make medical decisions for yourself. Additionally, the health care power of attorney should include your wishes and instructions for life sustaining treatment should you be terminally ill, in a persistent vegetative state, or at the end-stage of a condition. These powers of attorney terminate upon your death. At that time, the will takes effect and your assets would be distributed in accordance with the terms of the will.
In addition to the powers of attorney and will, every estate plan should include long-term care planning. With the advance of medicine, people are living longer; yet, most of us have not made ample provision for our future long-term care needs. Creating an estate plan now ensures that you are in control of your future.
With that in mind, here are some questions you should consider:
- Do your current documents name individuals that you trust and who would be appropriate (e.g. a family member or other trustworthy person who lives nearby and who has the time and ability)? Have you named alternates?
- Does your financial power of attorney allow your agent to engage in asset preservation or long-term care planning?
- Who are the current beneficiaries under your will? Are they still alive? Do you have alternates?
- Have you made provision for an underage beneficiary? Does your will provide for a disabled beneficiary?
- How are your assets titled and do they have beneficiary designations? If so, you need to review this information to make sure it coincides with your will.
The attorneys at ERA Law Group, LLC today are here to help. Call today!