A lot of people that do not have estate plans in place know that it is important. However, they procrastinate because they do not know how to proceed. It can be hard to enter uncharted waters. In this post, we will share four easy steps you can take to put your estate plan in place.
Evaluate Your Resources
You can probably make some projections with regard to the assets you will pass along to your loved ones. You should identify the property that will comprise your estate, and you may want to consider possible liquidation.
Dividing the value of property among multiple different people can be complex. There is another facet you should consider. Let’s say that you have a valuable collection of books, and your children are really not interested in them. They would like to sell them but they do not know the value of the items.
Under these circumstances, you should probably think about liquidating the books because you are in a better position to negotiate. This is just an example. However, you should look at your property from this perspective when you are starting to develop your estate plan.
Define Your Objectives
You do not necessarily have to transfer assets to each one of your loved ones in the same manner. If you will be leaving an inheritance to someone that is not a good money manager, you can include asset protection and spendthrift safeguards.
There are also incentive trusts that can be used to guide a person toward a certain type of behavior. A supplemental needs trust can be created to provide resources for a loved one with a disability without impacting eligibility for need-based government benefits.
You can establish a charitable trust if you would like to support charitable causes and/or institutions. These trusts also provide tax benefits.
There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan because various different factors can enter the picture. Identifying your objectives will ensure you are ready to discuss them when you consult with an estate planning attorney.
Address End of Life Eventualities
There are other aspects of your life to consider that are not covered by your trust. When you reach an advanced age, you may become unable to communicate sound decisions due to cognitive impairment or a physical ailment.
The state can get involved under these circumstances and a guardian could be appointed to act on your behalf. If you do not want to become a ward of the state, you can proactively include an incapacity planning component within your broader estate plan.
It will start with advance directives for health care. In some cases, medical professionals can use life support methods to keep people alive even when there is no hope of recovery. You can assert your life-support utilization preferences in a living will.
Medical scenarios that call for decision-making can arise that are not related to life-support use. To account for these possibilities, you can name someone to make decisions on your behalf in a durable power of attorney for health care.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is in place to keep patient information private. Your plan should include a HIPAA release to give your health care representative the right to review your medical records and speak with your doctors.
On the financial side of the equation, you can name someone to manage your affairs in a durable power of attorney for property. If you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee to act as the administrator if it ever becomes necessary.
Schedule a Consultation!
The fourth step is the most important. If you are currently unprepared from an estate planning perspective, you have identified the ideal resource, and it is time to take action.
You can schedule a consultation at our Oklahoma City, OK estate planning office if you give us a call at 405-843-6100. If you would prefer to send us a message, fill out our contact form and we will get back in touch with you as soon as we can.
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