There are four critical pieces of the estate-planning puzzle that everyone, regardless of their age or accumulated wealth, must have.
Having a will, or having a current will, is something many people overlook. But how will your wishes be carried out if you don’t make them clear—and legal? Will your mother inherit everything while your new wife is left struggling? Will your current or future heirs be provided for?
Nobody really plans to die, but it often happens unexpectedly and the consequences to those left behind can be devastating. The best thing you can do right now is to have John review your important paperwork and insurance policies and put a will in place.
2) Living Will
If the unthinkable happens and you are no longer able to think for yourself, how can you be sure that life-sustaining measures are taken, or not taken, on your behalf? Establishing a living will is the only way to make sure your voice will be heard, even if you can’t put your thoughts into words.
3) Financial Power of Attorney and 4) Healthcare Power of Attorney
Having healthcare and financial powers of attorney in place go hand-in-hand with having a living will. These documents are crucial to ensuring that your assets remain intact in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself. Without the proper documentation in place, your bills may not be paid and your funds liquidated without your consent. Decisions regarding your short or long-term medical care may be made that go against what you have in mind.
In some cases, your accounts can be frozen, even if you are married, and none of your funds accessed. If you are incapacitated, precious time will be lost while your family struggles to get a guardian appointed because you didn’t have a plan in place. Nobody will have the power to make decisions on your behalf.
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Once you’ve got a critical family protection plan in place—a will/trust, living will, and healthcare and financial powers of attorney—it’s important to make sure these documents stay relevant and up-to-date. John offers people a free review of their documents and can make recommendations for changes. Here are some things to take into consideration:
Are your documents current? Do you still have a relationship with the person you’ve appointed as your executor? Do you have established guardians for your children? Can the documents easily be found?
If your children are adults, do you want to make provisions for them that are different from when they were minors? Have your assets changed? Who’s going to get what? Has your estate been valued?
Having John review your will/trust documentation can ensure that your current wishes and personal situation are appropriately represented.
Living Will, Powers of Attorney, and Real Estate Deed Review
Who will make decisions for you if you are no longer able? Who will make sure your bills are paid, your pets fed, and your affairs kept in order?
Without good planning, decisions might be made that aren’t what you would have wanted. Your voice will not be heard.
There is specific language that needs to be included on your deed that if it isn’t there means the inherited portion of your home will need to go through probate—even if both names are on the deed. Title to the property may not automatically transfer to your spouse.
John can make sure your deeds include the proper language and are updated if necessary.
Elder Law and Planning for the Future
John helps elderly clients navigate the laws as they apply to Medicare, Medicaid, and estate planning. He’ll explain your rights and options as they pertain to your situation.
John offers a free review to ensure that you have all of the necessary, and legally binding, documents in place. If you’ve had documents prepared by an attorney who does not concentrate in the field of estate planning, a review can save you and your loved ones a tremendous amount of heartache.
John can tell you if what you have works, or it doesn’t, and whether or not changes should be made, or whether you need new documents.
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