Why Making Your Estate Plans Today...
Let’s You Enjoy Tomorrow
By Steve Holman, Holman Law
Lunch & Learn Event: Holman Law at The SPOT
Join Steve Holman of Holman Law at The SPOT at Celebration for a Lunch event:
Family Matters: How Your Choice of Agents, Executors and Beneficiaries Can MAKE or BREAK Your Estate Plan!
March 21st, 2019
12:00PM - 2:00PM
Please RSVP to this event by calling 972.474.7828.
Space is Limited.
Holman Law is an Elder Care and Estate Planning law firm representing clients who seek planning prior to requiring long-term care or clients who are faced with an immediate, custodial-care situation.
Let’s face it – sitting down and even thinking about your estate plan is not a top of mind priority for most. However, every person needs some form of estate planning. Consider the following:
Who will raise your young children if you are not alive?
Are you a young adult still relying to some degree on your parents?
Does your retirement savings consider the cost of long- term care?
Who do you trust making your medical or financial decisions if you are not able to make them yourself?
Will your children agree how to distribute your assets and personal belongings?
Does your spouse and/or children know and agree with your wishes?
What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning covers two primary areas 1) preparing and planning for the distribution of your estate after you pass away. This area of Estate Planning is usually accomplished with documents like a will or a trust. and 2) making plans for your medical and financial well-being if you are unable to make decisions while you are alive (sometimes called Incapacity Planning). Documents to address incapacity Planning include Powers of Attorney, Directive to Physicians (living will), and HIPAA Authorization.
Elder Law is a growing practice area that focuses on the long-term care planning for individuals who are in a health crisis situation or who seek to manage and preserve their assets should a health event require long term care in the future (i.e. Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, etc.). Since people are living longer, the likelihood that they will need long term care has increased. Unfortunately, long-term care is one of the biggest risk factors to an estate plan. Long term care costs can upset plans for retirement or other legacy intentions such as education gifting for grandchildren, down payments for children’s first home, charitable legacy gifts, etc. Consider:
The AARP believes 70% of individuals over 65 will require a long-term care stay at least once in their lifetime.
Genworth Financial has reported the average stay in a long-term care facility is 14 months at an average cost of over $250,000.
Since Medicare does not cover the complete cost of long-term care, an individual must come up with another way to pay for these expenses.
The three ways to pay for long term care are: private pay, long-term care insurance or public benefits.
Public benefits such as Medicaid or Veteran’s benefits have strict eligibility requirements and limit how many assets an applicant may have to be eligible.
For these reasons, a family should consider a long-term care situation in their estate plan.
What to Expect when you Meet with an Estate Planning Attorney
An estate planning attorney can review at your current situation and offer solutions to issues you bring up. They can also identify hidden risks that can be addressed in an estate plan to minimize their impact on your goals or wishes.
When you meet with an Estate Planning attorney, expect to discuss the following topics:
List of assets (bank accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, real estate, business interest, expected inheritance, etc.)
Any current health concerns or family health history
Your goals and wishes
List of individuals you want to consider for roles in your estate plan and why you believe they would be good fits.
The law firm will typically provide a Questionnaire for you to organize this information. Also, this questionnaire will allow you and the attorney to have a productive dialogue about your intentions. From there, the estate planning attorney can present planning options to you and weigh the pros and cons of each option. Once you settle on a plan, the attorney will prepare the documents for you to review, revise and eventually sign. If you have not already done so, it is recommended that you notify individuals who you have assigned roles in your estate plan.
Benefits of an Estate Plan
A good estate plan can accomplish a number of goals. It can reduce taxes owed by your estate as well as your beneficiaries. It can maintain a level of medical care that you desire when you are no able to make medical decision for yourself. It will ensure that your financial responsibilities are not interrupted or harmed by your incapacity. Your spouse and family will avoid the spending emotional, physical, and financial energy scrambling to address any unexpected health crisis. Your estate will be administered in an efficient manner according to your wishes – saving time and money for your family.
The worst estate plan is doing nothing. At the very least, start a conversation with folks you are counting on. If you do not make any plans the State of Texas will make them for you – often at a much greater expense for your family and with a result that is not what you intended.
You are invited to attend Steve's FREE Lunch and Learn on March 21st at The SPOT at Celebration. RSVP required. See page 17 for details.