Because few of us know when we will pass away, or face other complications of life, an appropriate estate plan should be designed to ensure you decide what happens and when. Unfortunately, even if you have a Will or trust, other decisions you make can undermine that plan.
Posts Tagged ‘Will’
Most people understand the basic purpose of a Will. It is the document most people use to instruct who will receive their assets when they die. A Will may be sufficient to address the assets that make up the estate of many people. (However, as I have discussed previously, a Will alone is not sufficient to address all the issues that should be considered as part of an estate plan).
Many people think that “estate planning” means deciding what happens to your things when you die. For that reason, many young families do not consider estate planning to be a priority. However, it may be one of the most important things young parents can do! A Will is the document in which parents can state who they want taking care of their young children if the parents should die.
I met recently with a man who asked me if it was too late. I could not give him the assurance he wanted. His mother was a stroke survivor; and recently had a serious fall. These are two of the most common reasons seniors need long term care, and both can occur in an instant. Seniors make up almost two thirds of those hospitalized for a stroke. Similarly, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors.
Most people are familiar with a Will; but does it have any connection to a Living Will? Other than the fact that both are an important part of any estate plan, these are two different documents with very different purposes. A Will applies upon your passing. A Living Will applies only while you are still alive.
Last column I explained why the process of transferring assets should never be more important than ensuring those assets end up with the people you want to receive them. So long as this priority is protected, there can be significant advantages to plan for the right way to transfer those assets.
“Probate” is a term most have heard, but don’t know what it means. Some know it has something to do with a Will, but don’t know how. More than a few have been told it is something to avoid, but aren’t sure why.
What is probate? Probate is a process in which a judge ensures that the debts of a deceased person (the decedent) are paid before his/her assets are distributed; and that the remaining assets are appropriately distributed.