Life is challenging. Unexpected things can happen involving marriage, children, grandchildren, divorce, blended families, moving to another state, and various other circumstances. Although we can’t anticipate everything, it’s possible to protect your well-being and assets while providing for loved ones by establishing an estate plan.
ESTATE PLANNING APPLIES TO EVERYONE
Many people don’t feel an estate plan is necessary, especially the unmarried or those without children or significant assets. This simply isn’t true. You can benefit from an estate plan regardless of your wealth or situation. A customized plan caters to your specific needs and helps prepare you for medical emergencies if you become physically or mentally incapacitated or need to distribute your assets at death.
Estate planning applies to families that own real estate, valuables, bank or investment accounts, or sentimental items. It also applies to families with loved ones who are disabled, children with special needs, or parents with declining health.
5 PARTS OF AN ESTATE PLAN
- Your Last Will and Testament (Will) decides how your assets will be distributed when you pass on. If you have minor children, it establishes who you want as guardians to care for them. It also designates the representative/executor who will carry out your instructions.
- Your Revocable Living Trust can help your family avoid the need to go to court to distribute your assets. It can also simplify estate administration and make decisions easier for your family.
- Your Durable Power of Attorney declares who will be in charge of financial decisions when you can’t make them, whether the situation is temporary or permanent. Your family will not need to go through a time-consuming and costly guardianship process to make decisions regarding your estate.
- Your Healthcare Power of Attorney designates a person to make medical decisions if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated by an illness or accident. Your family won’t need to go through a time-consuming and costly guardianship process to make decisions regarding your person or well-being.
- Your Living Will indicates your desire to discontinue life support if you aren’t going to recover. You can specify care and treatment in various emergency medical situations and instruct your Healthcare Power of Attorney.
Without these tools, the state of Ohio or Kentucky will make these critical decisions for you. Do you want the state to decide what happens to your children, assets, and health, or do you want to maintain control?
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS FOR ASSET PROTECTION
Some families have situations that require additional flexibility. One example is the need to create a trust for individuals whose resources make them ineligible for Medicaid and other government benefits. Preparing the right type of trust in advance protects assets from Medicaid long-term care nursing home spend-down requirements. It can also protect assets for loved ones who are disabled and rely on SSI or SSDI benefits. Please visit our Medicaid and Long-Term Care Planning page for more information on this topic.
If you have questions about estate planning, contact us to set up a consultation. We can be reached by phone at 513-771-2444 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office is in Cincinnati, OH, with clients throughout the Greater Cincinnati area, Northern Kentucky, and the surrounding counties.