Many think that they can simply go online and learn how to do virtually anything. They tend to think that everything that they find there is written by someone who's qualified to speak authoritatively about it. This is far from the case though,especially when it comes to legal documents, like a will.
While adults of any age can benefit from starting estate planning sooner than later, many wait until they have kids, get divorced, remarried or for other transitional stages in their lives before they begin. If there's anyone that shouldn't wait to plan their estate, parents of special needs children top on the list.
For most, one of the first thoughts that goes through an individual's mind when they consider estate planning is drafting their will or some other end-of-life document that relays their final wishes. Many don't realize that it also includes making plans for how your minor or special needs children are going to be cared for once you're gone or how you intend to preserve your assets.
Coming up with a plan to divide up assets such as jewelry, artwork, or family heirlooms in your will can be hard if you don't know what something is or what it's worth. What you may hold near and dear may be starkly different from the items someone else values. One way to ensure that your wishes for these items are honored is for you to address them in your estate plan.
One of the first decisions that you'll have to make during the estate planning process is deciding who you want to serve as executor. While you may be inclined to appoint a family member to this role, doing so can sometimes cause more harm than good. Some may choose to appoint a good friend, attorney or financial planner, depending on their jurisdiction's laws. Whomever you choose should have certain attributes.
The time comes in one's life when a will is necessary. Don't wait until this moment to run frantically to your attorney's office to have this important legal document drafted. It will likely be too late. Let's take a look at the milestones in life that should trigger a review of your will so that it is always updated for where you are in life right now.
As minors, our parents retain the decision-making power over choices regarding our health, but as soon as most of us turn 18, this ability goes out of the window. As adults, the decision becomes ours alone to decide whether we pursue certain treatment options and what ones those are unless we have a health care power of attorney (H-POA) drafted for us.
Although it's fairly commonplace to see stories in the news or on television about how things can go wrong at the end of life without an estate plan being in place, there are still an estimated 55 to 65 percent of Americans who don't have even in a will in place. Many don't because they think they don't have enough assets to leave behind for anyone. Others think estate planning is too complex.
If someone in your home receives government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because they're either physically or mentally impaired, then it's likely that you've heard a special needs trust. While government programs like Medicaid are intended to cover an individual's basic needs, they don't cover "creature comforts" that we'll all come to enjoy having access to.
When many people think about drafting a will, they often think that the process involves simply taking their assets that they intend for their loved ones to inherit and writing them down alongside the names of the individuals that they want them to go to.