Most people understand that estate planning is important, even though they frequently put it off because it is hard to think about leaving loved ones. However, it is critical to plan for the giving of property, estate taxes, incapacity, guardianship of minor children, the succession of a business and end-of-life issues. By having a plan in place, it takes the burdens off of your loved ones.
Most people want to pass on their property with minimal delay and cost. Wills and Trusts are commonly used to accomplish this. If you fail to plan, your estate will be probated and the Court will decide who receives your property. If you have a Will, your estate will still be probated; however it will be done according to your desires in the provision of your Will.
To avoid probate, many people use a Revocable Living Trust. Trusts are often more expensive and complex than a Will and can complicate eligibility for Medicaid.
In addition, many people fail to plan for incapacity. It is essential before becoming incapacitated to grant authority to someone to handle your finances using a Power of Attorney for Finances, and to someone to make healthcare decisions for you using a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare. By completing these documents your family will know your wishes, and you will avoid the need for a costly guardian and conservator proceeding.
In summary, having an estate plan in place eases burdens by letting your family know your wishes and gives you peace of mind knowing your desires will be carried out. If you have questions or concerns, contact the Elder Law Office of Tom Packer.