There are people that cannot understand the role of an estate planning lawyer as it applies to most families. They get the fact that multimillionaires need attorneys to sort out the distribution of multigenerational wealth and estate tax responsibilities. However, they assume that a simple DIY will can suffice for everyone else.
In reality, there are many reasons why qualified legal counsel can be invaluable when you are planning your estate. We will look at some of them here, and it starts with the dangers of DIY planning.
Where Do You Draw the Line?
Do-it-yourself projects are very popular, and you can find instructions to do just about anything online. It is fun to take on a project that is within your capabilities, and if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, it’s probably not a big deal.
That being said, there are some matters that do not make good DIY projects. Estate planning is one of them. When you are engaged in this process, you are facilitating very significant asset transfers to the people you love the most.
There are legal requirements that must be satisfied, and in some families, there can be competing interests. Consumer Reports studied do-it-yourself estate planning, and they advised against it for a number of reasons. Unless the situation is extremely simple, DIY planning is risky at best
Using the Right Asset Transfer Methods
There are different ways to facilitate asset transfers. The knee-jerk idea that a will is always the right choice unless you are very wealthy is misguided. A number of different trusts can be used, and they satisfy specific objectives.
In fact, we are going to look at some of them in an upcoming post. For now, suffice to say that you have options when you are planning your estate. You should explore them with the benefit of legal assistance so that you can make fully informed decisions.
A properly constructed estate plan will be comprehensive in nature. Yes, you have to assert your wishes with regard to asset transfers after you pass away. At the same time, you should also address matters that may come about toward the end of your life.
Your plan should include an incapacity component. You can name someone to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf in documents called durable powers of attorney. A living will should be added to assert your life-support utilization choices.
If you are using a living trust as your asset transfer vehicle, you can name a disability trustee to assume the role in the event of your incapacity.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
Your estate plan will not have much value if the cupboard is bare. If you do nothing to address the matter in advance, a nursing home could absorb your children’s inheritances. More than one third of elders will require nursing care, and Medicare does not cover it.
A married couple may face two different sets of nursing home bills, so this is a serious matter. Medicaid does cover long-term care, but it is a need-based program. As a result, it takes careful advance planning to develop a financial profile that will lead to eligibility. This is an area of specialization for our firm.
Schedule a Consultation Right Now!
When you connect with our firm, we will take the guesswork out of the estate planning process. We will listen as you explain your objectives and your concerns. After we understand your situation, we will make recommendations based on your circumstances.
At the end of the process, you will have a custom crafted estate plan in hand that is ideal for you and your family. As time goes on, we will be available to make revisions if and when they become necessary. Plus, we can be engaged by your family during the estate administration process.
If you are ready to get started, you can call us at 405-843-6100 to schedule a consultation at our Oklahoma City estate planning office. There is also a contact form on this site you can use if you would rather send us a message.
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