A Will is the legal document that allows you to distribute your property to those you choose. A Will allows you to designate beneficiaries to receive specific items from your estate, and other beneficiaries to receive everything else. For example, if you want your house, your car, or your antique pet rock collection to go to a certain person or organization, you designate that person or organization as the beneficiary.
Who's going to make sure that your antique thimble collection goes to the proper person? The executor of your Will. The executor's the person you designate to carry out your wishes.
A Will Can Name Guardians for Minor Children
A Will also gives parents of minor children the chance to nominate a guardian. The court makes the final decision when appointing a guardian for your children after your death, but the court will usually accept your nomination. A guardian’s legal responsibility is to provide for your child’s physical welfare.
Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re busy, think they have plenty of time, they’re confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.
If you don’t have a plan, your state has one for you, but you probably won’t like it.
At disability: If your name is on the title of your assets and you can’t conduct business due to mental or physical incapacity, only a court appointee can sign for you. The court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you through a conservatorship or guardianship (depending on the term used in your state). It can become expensive and time consuming, it is open to the public, and it can be difficult to end even if you recover. The State also has a plan for you to spend down all of your assets on long term care if you need it.
At your death: If you die without an intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws in your state. In many states, if you are married and have children, your spouse and children will each receive a share. That means your spouse could receive only a fraction of your estate, which may not be enough to live on. If you have minor children, the court will control their inheritance. If both parents die (i.e., in a car accident), the court will appoint a guardian without knowing whom you would have chosen.
If You Are Worried About Long Term Care Destroying Your Estate, We Encourage You to Learn About Long Term Care & Medicaid by Downloading One or All of Our Nine FREE Downloadable Medicaid Modules:
Module 1: Medicaid Basic Eligibility Rules
Module 2: Medicaid Income Rules
Module 3: Medicaid Asset Rules
Module 4: Medicaid Estate Recovery Liens
Module 5: Burial Allowances & Life Insurance Rules
Module 6: Medicaid Asset Transfer Rules & Penalties
Module 7: Crisis Case Examples of How We Help Families
Module 8: Pre-Planning Examples: How to Plan Ahead
Module 9: What is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) & Why Do I Need One?
Once you've learned the basics you might consider attending a free workshop, or taking advantage of a free asset protection consultation. Additionally, we offer you the ability to have us do a free asset protection analysis before you come in simply by submitting your information.