Be proactive! Take charge of your future, for yourself and your family. Take care with your financial records. Remember that you may need to provide up to 5 years of information to qualify for Medicaid. Keep an updated list of your Assets. (Stocks, Pension awards, Insurance Policies, etc). Maintain updated copies of your Liabilities, as well. (Rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills, and medical expenses). Determine your goals, family needs, and health concerns for your immediate AND long term future. Remember to have in place these key documents: - Will - Living Will - Healthcare Power of Attorney - Financial Power of Attorney - HIPAA Authorization Create an overall estate plan that will help you and your loved ones achieve your goals, help direct your saving, spending, and investment strategies, and allow you to plan with your individual needs in mind.
Not getting around to it. Not putting your plan in writing is always a bad idea. Believing the myth that estate planning is only for the wealthy: This is a fallacy. Estate planning is important for everyone who is concerned about where their assets will end up during disability and upon their demise. Often, when taking the value of a home into account, people are surprised to find that their estates are larger than they thought. Leaving the Living Trust Unfunded: A living trust is merely a vehicle that allows you to pass your assets outside of probate. However, if there are no assets in the trust, nothing has been accomplished. There is no point in drafting a living trust if the assets are not re-titled into the name of the trust. Leaving Assets as Joint-Tenancy: Titling assets as joint-tenancy with-right-of-survivorship (JT/WROS) does avoid probate because the assets pass automatically upon the first death, however, they are exposed to the lifetime creditors of the co-owner. Leaving
Once a decision has been made to engage in a formal estate plan, as opposed to letting the courts sort out who receives your property at your death, the decision essentially boils down to the following choices: Will-based Estate Plans: A Will-based estate plan uses a Will to contain all of the instructions that the client wants to apply to their property at their death. In effect, a Will is dormant until death occurs, then its terms spring into being and a court supervised procedure, called probate, begins and ensures that the decedents last wishes are carried out. The terms of a Will progress though naming guardians for minor children, payment of last expenses, distribution of any specific bequests, the disposition of the decedents property, including changing the title of the property from the decedent to the beneficiaries and the power and responsibilities of the personal representative. Trust-based Estate Plans: A trust based estate plan uses a revocable living trust to contain all
We would like to dedicate this post to say thank you for the people and things that make our lives more fulfilling. Here are five things we at Richard A. Myers Jr. Associates are thankful for: