As you enter the later years of your life, you start to plan for what you want to be done with your property and assets when you pass away. Do not make the mistake that many others do—planning sufficiently for retirement but failing to approach the possibility of becoming disabled through an accident, illness, or progressive condition.
Trusts and estates law can be dense with legal jargon and can be difficult for a layperson to navigate, but you do not have to set up a comprehensive estate plan without guidance from a legal professional. An experienced estate planning lawyer could help you understand your options for the distribution of your property and your end-of-life care.
Planning as early as possible could mean saving potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal costs for your medical care needs. A skilled Cary elder law attorney could work to create an estate plan that protects your life savings and personal care decisions as efficiently as possible.
While most people know how important drafting their last will and testament is, it is far from the only document you want to include in your estate plan. Depending on the type of assets you have, and who you want to distribute property to, you may want to include a variety of legal documents and instruments in your personal estate planning strategy.
For example, any assets named in a will must go through probate before they can be distributed to named beneficiaries, which can be a lengthy and frustrating process. However, the settlor can avoid the probate process and enjoy numerous additional benefits by placing certain assets in what is known as a revocable trust, or by utilizing effective beneficiary designations.
Similarly, placing assets in an irrevocable trust can protect them from collection by creditors and from various tax liabilities. There are benefits and drawbacks to every estate planning tool, so speaking with your local elder law legal professional about your best options is a good idea.
As an elderly individual nears the end of their life, it may be worthwhile for them to consider what kind of medical treatment they would want to receive in the event they become disabled or incapacitated. Naming one or more trusted friends or family members in a healthcare power of attorney on an elderly individual’s behalf, could help prepare in the event they are unable to make decisions due to incapacitation or incompetence.
Similarly, a financial power of attorney can grant a trusted individual the authority to make financial decisions, either immediately upon establishing the power of attorney or only if the principal suffers an incapacitating illness or injury. An end-of-life planning representative in the area could discuss with an individual how best to work essential documents into their estate plan.
The possibility of becoming disabled through an accident, illness, or progressive condition can be daunting as well. Many individuals who become disabled and require skilled nursing care cannot afford to pay for such services with their own funds.
You may be wondering how much long-term care will cost, how you will pay for it, and who will be liable for the bills. Cary Estate Planning can help answer these questions and put a plan in place that will give you and your family peace of mind. We can develop a personalized strategy tailored to you to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses and maximize your savings and inheritance to your family.
Medicaid is a means-tested benefit program that is directed by the Federal Government and administered at the State level. The program, overall, is meant for the disabled and impoverished. Medicaid eligibility rules allow you to keep your personal residence after you pass, but your family may be forced to sell the house and pay the proceeds to the Government. Because of this, there can be specific rules that must be followed in North Carolina that do not apply to other states.
To meet the definition of impoverished, an individual would have to spend down their assets to get below $2,000 in countable resources. Our local legal team can help start the planning well before assistance is needed and instead of having to spend down your assets as your only option. We can perform a detailed analysis of your financial condition and asset composition while determining your current and future planning options for your medical care.
While hardly anyone enjoys thinking about what will happen to their estate at the end of their life, planning ahead for this eventuality is important, especially for elders. In addition to ensuring your own wishes are respected, a thorough end-of-life estate plan can greatly simplify the lives of your surviving family members and loved ones, especially if you have a large estate with numerous financial holdings and assets.
During an initial consultation, a Cary elder law lawyer could help you establish your goals for your estate and start drafting a plan to your liking. To schedule a meeting with a skilled estate planning attorney, call today.