Why don’t you have an estate plan?
If you don’t have an estate plan, you are in good company. Sixty-seven percent of Americans do not have an estate plan, says Caring.com.
The reasons for not having one are not mind-boggling. The biggest reason, according to Caring.com: they just haven’t gotten around to creating one. Other common excuses: they don’t have enough assets to pass on to their loved ones; the estate-planning process is too expensive; or they don’t know how to get a will.
Estate planning does not have to be difficult. It is simple and more affordable than you think. Planning your estate is one of the kindest things you can do for the people you love.
Estate planning is the process of deciding who will receive your assets and manage your estate when you die
or if you’re incapacitated and unable to handle things on your own.
Without a plan in place, settling your affairs after you go could have a long-lasting, and costly, impact on your loved ones, even if you don’t have a large estate or investment portfolio to pass on.
Elder Advisers has access to the necessary resources to navigate and answer questions you have about your loved one’s health and wealth needs.
What does basic, simple estate planning include? Three key components make up a estate plan: Financial Power of Attorney (POA), a health care POA and a last will.
The cornerstone of any estate plan is the POA, which will include two parts, financial and health care. These two documents communicate wishes regarding one’s financial and healthcare decisions.
The financial POA gives another party the authority to manage your finances and property for you. These tasks could include paying bills, making bank deposits and managing your real estate property. For example, you suffer a fall and end up in the hospital and rehab. While you’re recuperating, you still have bills that need to be paid. Your financial POA can step in and make sure that happens.
The health care POA allows you to designate a person to make medical decisions when you are longer able to communicate or provide consent. This also included end-of-life decisions.
Finally, there is the living will, which is a document which allows you to state your wishes for end-of-life medical care. A living will is often combined with a health care proxy, which allows you to designate someone to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated. The living will and the health care proxy together make up what’s called an advanced health care directive.
If you are hesitant to create an estate plan, you are not alone. Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re too busy, think they have plenty of time, they don’t know where to start, or they just don’t want to think about it. We procrastinate, and that’s normal.
Then, when something happens to them, their families ar left with the burden to pick up the pieces.
Creating a comprehensive estate plan is a major undertaking and one that most people are happy to finish. But an estate plan isn’t something you work on once and never look at again. As life circumstances change, it’s important to reassess your plan at least once each year to ensure your plans will still work.
Elder Advisers® is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney. We offer financial advice. We can work closely with your existing tax and legal advisors or introduce you to those we routinely work with. Nothing in this newsletter is intended as tax advice, a solicitation for insurance, or legal advice, and is merely provided as general information, and should not be relied upon for anyone’s specific or unique circumstances. Some content of this newsletter may have been developed by third party sources not affiliated with Elder Advisers®. If you would like to discuss your situation, we are delighted to help. CALL (800) 763-7930.