Presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning, www.bradfordholliman.com
A complete estate plan is for the “autumn” of your life- so much more than a will or trust to handle the distribution of your belongings after your death.
Power of attorney. If you are temporarily in the hospital after an accident or a fall, you need someone else who can make financial, healthcare and other legal decisions for you without going to court. By working with your power of attorney for temporary needs, they are prepared for the future.
Titles and Account Beneficiaries. Complete estate planning reviews how real estate is titled and financial accounts’ beneficiaries which are often distributed outside of a will or trust. This review can be the basis for a full net worth summary which is a great resource for you to discuss with your financial advisor and accountant as well as your estate planning lawyer.
Healthcare Directive. In life-threatening health situations, your will does nothing. You need a clear healthcare directive for medical staff and your designated healthcare power of attorney to follow. Be sure to tell the trusted person that you are naming them as your healthcare power of attorney so that you are sure they are up to the task. Different family members often have very different opinions of what should be done in a crisis.
Long-Term Care Plans. In the autumn or winter of life, you may need to live somewhere that eliminates housekeeping, yardwork and cooking and provides adequate oversight on your medications. Options include independent living, assisted living, skilled care facilities such as nursing homes, in-home care, or moving in with adult children. In certain situations, special needs trusts and/or Medicaid and VA benefits may become major factors in financing your long-term care. Your preferences should be thought out, discussed with family and documented as part of your estate plan.
If you are nineteen or older, you need a complete estate plan. You never know when you’ll need to activate parts of it while you’re still alive. Once you have a plan, review it every three years or so because life happens – you may need to update who has power of attorney, your executor and backup executors, guardians for underage children, your preferences for long-term care and the laws may have changed slightly.
Contact a qualified estate attorney to draft a complete estate plan or review your current one now.
-Melanie B. Holliman, JD
Partner, Bradford & Holliman
Estate Planning, Trusts & Special Needs
No representation is made that the quality of the legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of service performed by other lawyers.