All you own – a lifetime of building. Why risk losing all you have when you can protect it in the event incapacity or death?
What happens if you pass away and haven’t done proper planning, or if you lose capacity and can’t manage your finances or medical affairs while you are still living? Court happens! Your loved ones will have to fight their way through the court system to get access to the funds and assets to pay your bills and collect what you wanted to leave to them.
It is, unfortunately, too late, to plan after certain events happen in your life. That is why planning in advance is crucial. The best way to reduce the risk of losing what you’ve acquired is:
- While you are still alive and well, now is the best time to appoint someone you trust to take care of your finances and medical issues, so you can protect yourself, in the event you lose capacity during your lifetime. You’ll be much happier knowing someone is watching out for you, and ready to step in, without court interference, if tragedy strikes.
- Buy life insurance if you can afford it. Should something happen to you, knowing your loved ones are taken care of will give you that additional sense of financial security and peace of mind.
- If you have a business, make sure that your personal and business assets are fully separated.
- If you are over 70 years old, you need to start planning for the possibility you will need long term care, which may include nursing home facilities. Nursing homes can cost in excess of $140,000 a year and will quickly drain those assets you were hoping to leave to your family. If you don’t want to lose everything, you must start early planning before needing a nursing home, to benefit from Medicaid assistance, because the government looks back a full five years, at all your transactions.
- Having a Will is a good way to express your wishes when passing on your assets to those you love. But your beneficiaries will be forced into probate court to get approval to distribute your belongings according to your wishes stated in your Will, and whatever information is in your Last Will and Testament will be publicly available for all to see. Probate can be a very lengthy and costly process. With the right planning, you can avoid this problem.
What if you have already done some planning, but you did it several years ago? If you’re wondering whether your planning will still help you if something happens, the answer is: It depends. The following are some things you should look at that will help you decide if you need to review and update your planning.
For you and your spouse, some events where a review is important:
- If you re-marry, divorce, or separate
- If you buy real estate for personal or business reasons
- If your business ownership interests change
- If your assets change in value
- If your spouse passes away
- If you or your spouse has an unexpected health problem
- You move to a different state
- For your family, some events where a review is important:
- If a family member dies
- If a beneficiary marries or divorces
- If there is a new birth in the family
- If the health of a beneficiary declines
- If a parent’s health declines
- State and/or Federal tax laws or regulations change
You can still maintain stability in your life, even during these times of uncertainty, by doing your planning or reviewing and updating your existing plan.