In September we celebrate both Grandparents Day and National Assisted Living week. In honor of the elder members of our society, we encourage everybody to take a step back and appreciate all that our senior community members provide in terms of experience and wisdom. We also encourage you to take this time to evaluate your (or your loved one’s) current legal and estate plan status.
The boilerplate advice for creating an estate plan is equality. If you have multiple adult children, an estate divided unevenly can sow seeds of discord. It is not unusual for families to suffer divides after the death of a parent if one of the beneficiaries feels as though the estate plan was unfair.
Given how difficult it has been to travel over the past year, we would not blame you if you were looking forward to returning to a jet-setting lifestyle. But whether it is your first time taking to the skies or if you are finally setting out on that road trip you have always dreamed of, it is vital to prepare.
There are millions of Americans without a Last Will and Testament, which presents huge potential problems for families of all kinds. Even if you do not hold much in the way of assets, it is still wise to at least have a simple Will on hand to ensure that the probate courts can disseminate your estate as efficiently as possible. Failure to do so can lead to lingering family repercussions, such as in the case of Wilbur Fox's estate.
If you own property, it is a good idea to consider filing a homestead declaration for your primary residence. The process and protections offered are different depending on the state that your property is in; however, there are several commonalities between states. All states offer the ability to file a homestead declaration and offer some level of protection.
There is no overstating the importance of having an Estate Plan in place. Estate planning is a journey that is unique to every individual or couple. Not only can proper estate planning ensure that your assets go to your desired beneficiaries, it can also ensure that family relationships stay positive for years after your death. There are few ways to start family feuds faster than dying with no will in place.
Thinking about the end of your life may be stressful, but the more you prepare, the better the situation will be for you and your loved ones. For instance, in the story of Cynthia McKennedy, having an advanced care directive was crucial to ensuring that her physician honored her end-of-life wishes when she was not lucid enough to advocate for herself. Not having one would have put an unbelievable amount of stress on her family during an already-difficult time.
Families with any children need to take special care when estate planning, particularly if the children are still in their minority and would need guardians after the parents died. Dying intestate has a number of consequences that robust estate planning can easily avoid. This is true for families with any number of children, and even those with none.
Savvy estate planners know that revocable living trusts are a cornerstone of any comprehensive estate plan. However, knowing exactly what to put in the estate plan can be a challenge.
Nobody likes to think about being medically incapacitated. However, when it comes to managing your estate, it is vital to plan for the worst case scenario. For instance, if you know that dementia runs in your family, creating a plan early is of paramount importance.