Many people put the subject of estate planning on the back burner with the idea that there will always be time to do it later on. Unfortunately, we never know what the future holds. In far too many cases, families are left behind facing difficult situations because loved ones failed to plan ahead appropriately. In reality, estate planning is one of the basic responsibilities of adulthood, and you should definitely have an estate plan in place if you have been remiss to this point.
One of the many misconceptions about estate planning is that it is all about the creation of a last will. Of course, you have to state your final wishes with regard to the distribution of your assets. A last will is one option, but when you understand the facts, you may decide that a revocable living trust is a better choice.
Since the trust is in fact revocable, you do not have to shelve the idea because you are afraid of losing access to your resources. Plus, you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are living, so you have total control of the assets in the trust in every way.
A major advantage that you gain when you use a revocable living trust instead of a last will is the avoidance of probate. This is a time-consuming, costly, and intrusive process that will enter the picture if you decide to use a last will. In a trust, you name a successor trustee to take over after you pass away, and you name your heirs as successor beneficiaries. After your passing, the trustee would be empowered to distribute assets to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
If you are wealthy, or if you have a complicated financial profile, you may want to consider using a different type of trust. Our Mount Clemens trust lawyers can gain understanding of your situation and guide you in the appropriate direction with regard to the ideal vehicle of asset transfer.
There is more to the process of estate planning than the facilitation of postmortem asset transfers. To be comprehensively prepared, you should pragmatically address end-of-life issues. One document that should definitely be part of your estate plan is a living will.
In some cases, doctors can keep people alive indefinitely through the utilization of artificial life-sustaining measures like feeding tubes and artificial respiration devices. There are people that would want to be kept alive because this would be consistent with their religious beliefs, and others would choose life-support for different reasons.
On the other hand, there are those that would want to allow nature to take its course. This is a personal decision that everyone should make independently. You can state your wishes with regard to the implementation of these measures in a living will.
When you take this action, you can be certain that your own wishes will be carried out after you pass away, and this is the most important factor. At the same time, you are also taking a difficult decision out of the hands of your next of kin.
In legal parlance, a living will is considered to be an advance directive for health care. There is another advance directives for health care that should be included in your estate plan. The document that we are referring to is called a durable power of attorney for health care.
In this legal device, you name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. These would be issues that are not covered in a living will, which is specifically focused on the matter of life-support utilization.
With regard to the above, there is a law in place that prevents medical professionals from releasing health care information to anyone other than the patient. To make sure that your health care representative has access to the records, you should sign a HIPAA release form.
The last document we will look at here is another durable power of attorney. If you become unable to make sound decisions toward the end of your life, someone will have to make them on your behalf. You can empower an agent to do so if you execute a durable financial power of attorney.
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If you read this blog post, you are looking for information about the subject of estate planning. You can obtain a lot of useful insight if you download our free worksheet, and you can click this link to gain access your copy. And of course, if you are ready to speak with one of our Mount Clemens trust lawyers in person, you can visit our contact page to request an appointment.