There are an incredible number of options available when estate planning. Maybe that is what puts many people off ever making one – they can’t work out where to start because there are too many choices.
Yet, like anything that appears complex, you can simplify it. Here are the three basic things your estate plan should cover:
Medical attention can be costly. It’s important you have provisions in place to cover those costs. If you plan to rely on Medicaid for healthcare in later life, you need to work things out so that your apparent estate is below the qualifying limit.
This may mean moving assets into trusts or transferring them to your family early. However, beware of the lookback period, which means Medicaid providers may be able to recover assets you transferred shortly before you needed to use their services.
You should also use your estate plan to specify any treatments you do not want. Alternatively, you could just nominate a healthcare power of attorney to make those decisions for you in case you ever cannot speak for yourself.
You can specify how you want to distribute your estate when you die. Otherwise, the courts will decide for you. That might leave assets susceptible to claims by creditors. Again there can be advantages to transferring some assets before you die.
Life does not stop for others the day you die or fall too ill to sign documents. Assigning a power of attorney enables them to continue taking essential actions that you can no longer perform.
Consider legal help to find out more about making your first estate plan.