Estate planning: Not just a will and a trust

One of the most important things you can do is prepare for your future, which includes planning for a time when you may become incapacitated or for after your death. You want to ensure your estate is handled in the way you wish and not by someone else’s wishes. What can you do other than prepare a will and create a trust? Powers of Attorney are a great tool for individuals of any age, not just the elderly. At any point in life that you become incapacitated or unable to act on your own behalf, you want to make sure someone you trust has the ability to handle your affairs. Creating a general power of attorney allows a person of your choosing to enter into legally-binding matters on your behalf. This can include entering a contract for sale, signing your check in order to pay bills, or contact a financial institution to obtain information. Giving someone a health care power of attorney allows someone to access your medical records or to authorize medical treatment if you should be unable to do so. A living will is different from a health care power of attorney because the living will lists your wishes for end-of-life treatment. While no one can authorize the termination of comfort care, including pain treatment, you can authorize someone to “pull the plug” at a time that doctors make a determination regarding the viability of your life. Another document that can simplify your estate after your death is a “transfer on death affidavit.” You can do this on a house or a vehicle, and it puts the title into someone else’s name immediately on your death. Filing this affidavit can prevent creditors from being paid as a result of the sale of your house or car. This affidavit also lets the individual immediately take possession of the property, rather than needing to apply to receive the title. Finally, naming beneficiaries on bank accounts, 401(k) accounts, life insurance policies, and investments will prevent creditors from having access to this money. Upon your death, the person you have named as beneficiary will immediately be entitled to the money, and this will not become part of the probate Estate planning can be a lot of work, but it saves a lot of headache after your death. Contact Dailey LawOffices to set up your free initial consultation in either our Delaware or our Hilliard office.

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