The importance of making end of life preparations cannot be stressed enough. Many put off making these plans thinking there is always time. The sad reality is that none of us are guaranteed time. Others may be bothered by the thought of death itself and allow this to paralyze them when it comes to making plans and getting their affairs in order for the end of life. However, most of these same people have wishes and thoughts about where and to whom their assets are distributed. Many of them also have ideas about what they do and do not wish to have happen when their life ends. Lack of preparation and planning means that these wishes likely will not be honored. In addition, it causes additional strain and stress on the people who are left to sort out the affairs. An example of this is the story of Frances.
But your work doesn’t stop there. Your will might address questions about what happens to your assets after your death, but it doesn’t do everything.
This is why you should have an estate plan that includes things such as a living will, power of attorney and health care power of attorney to ensure that you can still meet your medical and financial needs if you ever become incapacitated.
Read up on retirement planning in America, and you come across some pretty startling statistics:
- One in three Americans have no retirement savings. The same number of people say they expect to work in retirement to supplement their income
- More than 40 percent of single seniors over 65 get at least 90 percent of their income from Social Security
- Even healthy couples will pay close to $400,000 on health care in retirement
With all that in mind, it becomes painfully apparent how important it is to plan for retirement, yet it’s a process that many people aren’t even sure how to approach.
With that in mind, we’d like to suggest some questions you should ask to help start putting together your retirement plan.
When planning for your loved ones’ future, you may consider creating a trust to protect assets set aside for them. If you create a trust, you will need a reliable and trustworthy person to name as the trustee who will manage the trust. Choosing the correct trustee is an important decision because he or she will be responsible for carrying out your wishes when managing the trust.
The trustee will be responsible for duties such as managing investments, paying bills, preparing tax returns, and managing other accounts within the trust.
Before choosing a trustee, consider the following points that will help you determine who will be best suited for the role.
1. A trustee must be over the age of eighteen and capable of managing his or her own affairs successfully.
2. The trustee should be completely trustworthy and committed to the beneficiary’s best interests.
3. The trustee should be able to make sound judgments and have a strong understanding of his or her duties as the trustee. While not required, legal or financial expertise is valuable.
4. If a person is going to be the trustee of a special needs trust, knowledge of public benefits and how to avoid invalidating these benefits is beneficial.
5. The trustee should be someone who is healthy and will be able to continue managing your trust for many years to come.
6. A trustee should have the time to devote to managing your trust effectively. If the person you are considering is very busy, you should consider other candidates before making your final choice.
7. If you don’t know someone who would be a suitable trustee, consider hiring a professional trustee or institution to manage your trust. Professional trustees may include a trust company, accountant, lawyer, or investment manager or advisor. However, professional trustees or institutions do charge a fee or percentage to manage your trust.
8. Consider co-trustees if you would like to have a trusted friend or family member and a professional trustee manage your trust together.
9. Understand your family dynamics when selecting a trustee. If you are choosing a family member to be the trustee, try to avoid conflicts between family members and explain to other relatives why you have chosen a particular person to be the trustee.
10. If you make a relative or friend your trustee, decide who will be the successor in the event that the person is no longer able to manage your trust.
After you have chosen a trustee, it is advisable to reexamine your choice every few years to ensure that your trustee is still the best choice for your needs. If circumstances change, you may need to assign a different trustee who is better suited to the required responsibilities.
It’s no surprise that having a special needs child is both challenging and rewarding. Not only are there school and medical issues to consider, there are also the financial needs of your child. Planning for your child’s financial well-being should be an important part of your estate plan especially since improved healthcare has allowed children with conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome, to live longer.
What do you need to do to provide for your special needs child? These things can help during the special needs child planning process.
Social media is great, since it lets you can connect with faraway friends and family. MP3s and online television networks like Hulu and Netflix are fun as well, since they give you the opportunity to enjoy music and television programs on any device and on your schedule. Of course, let’s not forget about how great email is. Write a message, hit send and it’s off.
Have you ever given any thought to what will happen to your digital accounts when you die? Like most people, you probably haven’t given much thought to your digital accounts, since it isn’t a physical thing or even an asset. Still, it is something that you need to consider because your online accounts don’t just disappear when you die. According to Intel Security, the average person has 27 different logins. Yikes! That’s a lot of passwords to manage, so it would make sense to set up a plan for your digital assets after your death.
When it comes to our family members, we like to think that we know what is best for them. For the most part that is true. After all, these are people we grew up with or in the case of family by way of marriage, got to know over the years.
Yet there are times, in particular when loved ones get older and need help, that the question, “Should I seek professional help?” arises with respect to the health and financial affairs of your loved one.
Despite concerns about finances and health, most people look forward to retirement. The idea is that people will have more time for personal interests since they no longer have to work or care for small children.
Of course, things aren’t always ideal. A serious illness, dementia, or even death can mean that retirement won’t be so golden. While many health issues can’t be prevented, they can be planned for, especially since a stroke, complications from diabetes or osteoporosis can lead to long-term care situations, such as assisted living or nursing home placement.
How do you plan for a future that may include chronic health issues when you aren’t sure what the future may hold for you? These things can help:
Preparation is a key component when planning for the future. Choices about where to live, long-term care and how to protect assets are common age-related decisions. One way to keep these choices from becoming overwhelming is to seek the advice and guidance of an elder law attorney.
While many people feel they don’t need the help of an elder law attorney, there are instances where the guidance and legal support of an attorney may become necessary.
Often, people disregard the benefits of consulting with an elder law attorney because they see it as an unnecessary cost, especially when they do not have any persistent health issues. However, legal and health issues can arise suddenly and without the correct preparation, elders can have a difficult time recovering and managing healthcare expenses.
Facing your own mortality is difficult, but don’t let the anxiety of what is to come stop you from planning for the future. The most basic part of your estate plan is a will that identifies your fiduciary or executor and what should be done with your assets after your death.
A thorough will can ensure that your assets are used and distributed to the correct people or organizations and reduce any legal and family strife.
Once you have decided to create a will, keep these five things in mind: