The Basic Testamentary Estate Planning Documents


Estate Planning for SeniorsOnce 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 decedent’s 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 decedent’s 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 of the instructions that the client wants to apply to their property during their lifetimes, their disability or illness and at their death. Unlike a Will, a living trust springs into life upon signing. It is an independent legal entity with rights and responsibilities of its own. The operations of a Trust are carried out by the Trustees for the sole benefit of the beneficiaries, both lifetime and after death. Unlike a Will, property is transferred from the Trust creator to the living trust immediately after signing the trust. The Trust becomes the legal owner of the property for both state and federal law purposes. When a disability or death occur, the Trust already owns the property and does not need the participation of the Probate Court for supervision. Typically, the Trust creator is also the Trustee. Upon the disability or death of the Trust creator, the terms of the Trust automatically transfer power and responsibility to the successor Trustee who is the person or persons the Trust creator has chosen to continue the management of the Trust assets.

ADDITIONAL DECISION MAKING DOCUMENTS

Financial Durable Power of Attorney. A Financial Durable Power of Attorney is a document that appoints a person to serve as the agent of the creator. The Financial Durable Power of Attorney is an extremely important document that should be given very careful consideration. It will provide authority to the agent to carry out all of your personal and business matters should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. The Financial Power of Attorney is a set of instructions that enables the agent to make needed decisions that come along without Court involvement. The Financial Durable Power of Attorney is imperative to provide for wealth preservation during Medicaid or Veteran Benefits planning.

LIVING WILL & HEALTHCARE POWER OF ATTORNEY

A Living Will/Healthcare Power of Attorney is an end of life directive, empowering your agent to make healthcare decisions, including the authority to cease life sustaining care when you are either in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious.

HIPAA Authorization. Federal laws have been enacted to protect our privacy in medical matters. A HIPAA Authorization is a release of information document that grants access to medical records and information. This is an important document to assure that your Financial Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney have access to all the information necessary to make a fully informed decision about your care.

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7 Easy Steps Towards Effective Medicaid Planning

By Richard A. Myers
December 27, 2018 Category: Medicaid Planning

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.

The Top 10 Estate Planning Mistakes

By Richard A. Myers
December 27, 2018 Category: Estate Planning

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

The Fundamental Questions to Ask Before Estate Planning

By Richard A Myers
December 27, 2018 Category: Estate Planning

Because estate planning is not just about reducing taxes but more about making sure your assets are utilized for my care and the care of my loved ones during an illness or disability and then distributed as you wish after you are gone, you need to consider four questions before you begin estate planning. WHO DO I TRUST TO CARRY OUT MY ESTATE PLAN? This is the first critical question to answer because you will not be available to oversee the plan. Carefully selecting your fiduciary and the alternate fiduciaries is the first step to the success of your personalized estate plan. The fiduciary will continue to carry out your estate plan during your illness, short or long term and then your wishes after you are gone. WHO SHOULD INHERIT MY ASSETS? If you are married, before you can decide who should inherit your assets, you must consider marital rights. Ohio has specific laws designed to protect surviving spouses. If you die without a will or a living trust, state law may dictate how much

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