Estate planning involves the protection and transfer of wealth, often from an individual to his or her family members and designated beneficiaries. Last will and testaments and trust agreements are usually the main vehicles to accomplish this inter-generational asset transfer, but that is not all there is to estate planning. There are other features that are just as important.
You may have questions about what else an estate plan can do for you. We know just how confusing it can be to navigate this topic.
Let us share with you three areas where estate planning can provide more than just a financial inheritance in our blog.
1. Planning for health needs.
A sound estate plan will include critical health care documents such as a health care power of attorney, living will, and a HIPAA release. A health care power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted individual, like an adult child, to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are either incapacitated or unable to make competent decisions.
A living will can detail the type of medical procedures you want, and do not want, as well as your wishes for end-of-life care. These instructions can serve as a guide for others when you are unable to advocate for yourself. A HIPAA release can ensure your designated health care confidants can access your private medical records and forward them to appropriate medical professionals for your benefit.
2. Planning for keepsakes.
Sentimental items carry implicit value, rather than actual value. Such items, however, may be worth more to your loved ones than gold. Personal keepsakes, family heirlooms, diaries, and similar possessions can be incredibly important to adult children and close friends.
Talk to them, and explicitly outline your wishes with your estate planning attorney in your estate plan to avoid potential conflict after your passing.
3. Planning for special needs.
Older adults with special needs grandchildren can provide for their long-term care by creating a special needs trust in their estate plan. A special needs trust is a type of irrevocable trust that is designed to allow disabled individuals to use inherited assets for their benefit, while at the same time keeping them eligible for essential government programs, like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
Does this article raise more questions than it answers? These are just a few of the topics that your estate planning attorney can talk to you about as you prepare the right estate plan for you. Do not wait to contact our office to get the help you need on this or any elder care issue.