Dude – Death Happens. Get Prepared!

Guest blog today written by Kristi Richards of Northwest Elder Law Group

 

The Natural Conclusion to a Successful Life:  Estate Planning 101

Watch the Video HERE.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.

As part of living, things go wrong.  Few things in life are as difficult and challenging for your family and friends as things going wrong for you without the ability to ask you how you want to handle those lifetime speed bumps. Preparing an estate plan lets you control decisions about those speed bumps in life and death.

You worked hard to be successful.  An estate plan protects your family, helps protect your assets, and protects your decisions.  Your asset strategy likely focuses on growth, transfer, and avoiding income or estate tax, but your hard work can stall if you do not formally set out your wishes in written documents.

A successful estate plan generally includes a Will or Revocable Living Trust to transfer your assets after your death. Both of these can assist you with protecting assets after you die (for you children or vulnerable family members), transferring assets to the specific recipients you choose, allowing you to name a guardian for young children, and potentially lowering your taxable estate.  Without you taking the time to make these decisions and putting them in a formalized document, your state has a set of rules that will determine your end of life answers.

More importantly, a successful estate plan generally also includes durable powers of attorney and health care directives, and can include a variety of other documents for you to make personal care decisions.  Durable powers of attorney allow you to choose another person or professional service to make your financial and health care decisions if you are unable to do that for any reason – from being out of the country to being unconscious due to an accident or being unable to make decisions due to dementia.  You also have the option to decide if you want ongoing medical interventions if the intervention will only prolong your life. Again, without a formal written document in place, your state of residence will have a set of rules will likely make your decisions for you.

Your financial success took a lot of time and effort to achieve.  The state creates a default set of rules to ensure you and your assets are protected, and that your assets are transferred if something unexpected occurs, but you have the ability to prepare an estate plan and make your decisions.  Making those plans allows you to make your personal decisions and choose the individuals that carry out those decisions. 

The information above covers the simplest parts of an estate plan, but you may have more difficult questions and documents that could or should be prepared.  Every individual can benefit from discussing their life and death preferences with an attorney experienced in creating estate plans.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.

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