Life Planning Protects You and Your Family
Not Every Estate Plan Addresses Life Concerns That Protect You and Your Family
Who Determines Your Incapacity?
Statistically four out of ten people will be disabled after age 65 before dying. However, traditional estate planning rarely addresses the challenges families face when someone becomes mentally disabled and is no longer able to handle his or her own financial affairs. When it does, it abdicates the responsibility to “two doctors”, who may not even know you or you have not approved in advance. By utilizing a “Life Plan”, we put control in your hands, where you select a panel of people who determine whether you are incapacitated. The people you select will determine when, if ever, you should be removed as a Trustee due to a serious illness or any other cause that results in your ability to effectively manage your assets or financial affairs.
Do You Have a Financial Power of Attorney?
Every good estate plan includes a Financial Power of Attorney as part of the overall estate plan design. The person you select as your agent will be empowered to act on your behalf with regard to your financial affairs and handle your routine business matters if you are unable to do so yourself. Do you want your agent empowered to act even if you are able or do you want to limit your agent's authority to act only when you are unable to act?
Is Someone Empowered to Make Medical Decisions for You Under a Health Care Power of Attorney?
A health care power of attorney allows the agent you select to make medical decisions for you in the event of any medical emergency, not just when faced with a terminal illness, if you are unable to do so yourself. Your agent will be able to sign medical consent forms, hire and fire doctors, enforce your living will or advance health care directive, arrange for organ donation and the ultimate disposition of your remains following your death.
Have You Provided Remarriage and Asset Protection for Your Surviving Spouse?
When the first spouse passes away, the Surviving Spouse may be confronted with many challenges ranging from a new suitor whose motivations may not be fully apparent to unforeseen creditors that can jeopardize the family estate. Many people wish to include provisions in their estate plan that provides protection to your spouse and other family members.
Outright, Staggered or Protected Distributions to Children?
Our clients prefer to see the assets that they leave to their children remain safe despite their children’s bad decisions involving business, relationships, and health. How one leaves assets to their heirs could dramatically affect whether they will be successful in accomplishing this goal. A distribution that is either outright or staggered, changes the character of the asset from one that may have started out being protected to one that is no longer protected. If you prefer to protect your beneficiaries, rather than see the inheritance you left to them go out the door to a divorcing in-law (potential outlaw), or a business creditor in a failed enterprise, then how you leave them assets to your beneficiaries is as important as whether they inherit an asset.
Are Your Assets Being Transferred Estate Tax Free Transfer to Grandchildren?
Should your beneficiaries die before you do or not exhaust their share of the estate before he or she pass on, do you prefer that the assets left to them be distributed to their surviving spouse (and potentially his or her new spouse to the exclusion of the grandchildren) or should the assets remain within the bloodline. It is important to address this challenge as many people decide that they want to keep family assets within the family for the benefit of their grandchildren. If you do not plan for this possibility, this may not happen. And, when it is planned for, it can often be accomplished in a tax preferred manner to the succeeding generation.