With everything we have been through in the past year, I think it would be fair to recommend that all of us have reason to review our estate planning documents. And if you don’t have any, now is the time!
Especially if you are over the age of 60.
Typically, we tend to review our estate plan when we get older or if there has been a significant change in our circumstances. However, if you are over the age 60 and you haven't updated your estate plan in many decades, it’s time to update your documents. After everything has been updated, you should continue to review your plan every two and half years.
Here are a few age ranges and what they mean in terms of estate planning:
Do you have a Will? That is, do you have a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your property after your death? The document should also spell out other important considerations like the legal care of your minor children upon your passing.
Between one-half and two-thirds of American adults do not have a Will. The big question is why? There are many answers, but some of the most common answers are, “I don’t have time,” “I’m still young,” or “I don’t have much so what does it matter.” None of these answers are real answers, they are actually excuses. The truth is, a Will is something that has to do with our eventual death, and who wants to think about that?
To start, see if you answer yes to any of these questions:
The topic of estate planning is often something people are uncomfortable discussing or even thinking about. However, creating an official and legalized plan ensures that your wishes for the distribution of your assets are carried out when you die, and it ALSO means you’ll be prepared if you have a life crisis or become ill.
Any estate plan will minimally comprise a Will, Financial POA, Health Care POA with HIPPA, Health Care Directive and Mental Health Directives. However, if married, you should strongly consider a Community Property Agreement. If you are married and have a net worth more than $2.2M then consider a Trust to eliminate estate tax. If you own property in more than one state or wish to avoid probate, you should consider a Living Trust.
Let’s look at some of these Elements of Estate Planning. And you can always learn more on our website HERE.
Finding the RIGHT attorney that fits your specific needs is not easy, particularly when it comes to Elder Law.
What is an Elder Law Attorney?
Elder law is an area of legal practice that specializes on issues that affect the aging population, or those planning for life. The purpose of elder law planning is to prepare the an aging person with financial freedom and autonomy, by utilizing proper financial planning and long-term care options.
There is little doubt that estate planning can be a difficult and complex endeavor, which is why people put off creating an estate plan for many reasons. Some do so because they don’t want to face their own mortality while others simply find the prospect intimidating and confusing. Unfortunately, a recent Caring.com study shows that even fewer people are engaging in estate planning than were a few short years ago.
A couple should create an appropriate estate plan. If they truly want inheritance rights, they need to execute testamentary documents, such as wills.
For unmarried couples, having an estate plan might be even more important than for married couples, especially if there are children in the family. The unmarried couple does not enjoy the legal protection afforded by marriage, but many of these protections can be had through a well-prepared estate plan.