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Estate Planning Basics For Seniors

09/10/2020

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Senior citizens may not always realize the importance of estate planning. You may just assume that your children will inherit everything you have, but there is more to know!

In the event that a senior passes away, they will want their final wishes to be fulfilled. An estate plan will guarantee that your family's financial security is taken care of when that day comes. Without an estate plan, the inheritance law of the state applies, and the state will confiscate the property.

 

So, what is Estate Planning?

Nearly everyone has an estate; it includes everything you possess. This includes your car, home, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, and all personal belongings, regardless of how enormous or how modest everything is.

Older adults don't typically pay attention to estate planning. They think that time is on their side, they don't know who to turn to, or they just don't want to think about it. However, when death or disabilities happen, your family will suffer. Without an estate plan in place and in the event of death, your beneficiaries are exposed to hazards such as probate, taxes, creditors, lawsuits, con artists, court judgments, and more on your behalf.

Hiring an estate planning attorney will provide you guidance and ensure your property documents are prepared according to your wishes. State laws are very specific, and the verbiage is often complicated if you are not already familiar with it.

Key Components of Estate Planning

Will

A will specifies your instructions after your demise. Your assets will go to the people mentioned in your will. Any assets in your name will go through the state's probate process before it can be allocated to the heirs.

 

Living Will

A living will is a directive by a terminally-ill person that states their wishes for medical care. It is a valuable document to household members and medical professionals in the event that you are unable to communicate your instructions. The authority of the living well ends when the person dies.

 

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney gives another person the authority to make decisions in place of the assignor. The decisions include financial, medical care, property management, and daily life issues.

 

Trust

A trust is a legal tool that hold assets for a beneficiary based on the wishes of the grantor, mentioned in the legal agreement. The trustee is the legal administrator who controls the trust agreement. Usually, the beneficiaries are individuals or charitable institutions that benefit from the income of the property and gains control of the property upon the grantor's demise.

 

Written By: Care Manager - Kelly Foster, LPN

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