We all like to have control. When you face a serious or life-threatening health condition you appreciate whatever control you can manage. Through estate planning you can enjoy some control in these situations and even exercise some of it after you pass away. If you’re in the Newport News area and are considering planning ahead, we can help.
Estate planning is an area of law that covers planning ahead to cover situations that may or will happen, whether that’s the ability to make decisions, the ability to delegate important decisions or make financial arrangements that will help you, your family or organizations you care about. Estate planning is for everyone, not just the elderly or infirm, because serious, unexpected, health threatening situations could happen at any time to anyone.
Estate planning tools
It all starts with a conversation. I talk to my clients about their current situation, their plans for the future and what may stand in the way. Your needs and desires could be addressed by the creation of a number of legal documents, including,
- Powers of attorney: These are legal documents allowing you to delegate decision making to another. They can cover financial and healthcare decisions, be effective immediately or when and if you’re incapable of making your own decisions. They can make very difficult times easier for your family. If you’re in the hospital a financial power of attorney can allow someone you trust access to your finances and the ability to pay your bills and maintain your household. If you can’t communicate or aren’t capable of making healthcare decisions a power of attorney can empower someone to make those decisions for you.
- Living will/advance medical directive: This is similar to a healthcare power of attorney but is effective if you’re terminally ill. Through this document you can also spell out what kind of healthcare you want and don’t want if you’re in this situation.
- Will: A will allows you to spell out who you want to have your assets and property after your estate’s bills, costs and taxes are paid. Without a will these assets would pass to your next of kin. Through a will you can also name the person you want to be responsible for your estate after you pass away. Your will allows you a measure of control even after you passed away. Friends and family members can benefit from your lifetime of work. A charity or organization you care about can continue to affect lives after your death.
- Trust: There are many different kinds of trusts able to do a number of things. They involve a person (the grantor) setting aside something of value (the corpus) to be managed by another party (the trustee) for someone’s benefit or for the benefit of an organization (a beneficiary). The corpus need not be set aside during your life, it could be all or part of your estate which is passed through a will. Through a trust assets, or income from assets, you can help a person, group of people, a charity or non-profit. A trust can be set up to help someone who’s disabled benefit from assets while still qualifying for government benefits or help you qualify for Medicaid while your assets are used to improve your quality of life.
Get help with your estate planning needs
If you have any questions about estate planning and how it could help you and those you care about, we can help you reach your goals with the right legal tool for the right job – meeting your wants and needs. Call us today at 757-214-1371.