Whether you’ve lived in Greensboro for many years or are a newcomer, getting your estate planning done right is important. Failing to plan until it’s too late runs the risk that your loved ones – your intended beneficiaries – may experience delays, extra expenses, frustrations and even family squabbling. All because you didn’t have your estate planning in order.
Of course no one wants to dwell on the thoughts of disability or death. That’s why it’s important to get this started and get it done, so you can stop worrying and start enjoying peace of mind.
At a minimum your estate plan should plan for what happens if you die, and for what happens if you don’t die. What I mean by that, is that you should plan ahead for what would happen not only if you die, but also what would happen if you live a long life, become incapacitated and unable to care for yourself or make decisions for yourself. So your estate plan should include at a minimum a plan for how your estate will pay if you die (that is, planning your loved ones’ inheritance-specifying what will they get and when). Equally if not more important is a plan for what happens if you become incapacitated whether through sudden illness, or Alzehimer’s, or a sudden health problem (such as a stroke) or a car accident.
That’s why Greensboro estate planning should include at a minimum three estate planning documents: a durable power of attorney; a health care power of attorney; and a will. The durable power of attorney is for managing your finances and property during your life in case you cannot do so your self. The health care power of attorney is name the person you’d like to make your medical decisions if you cannot make or communicate your own health care decisions. And your will is for the administration of your estate and division and distribution of your property to your beneficiaries after your death.
Beyond this, many people in Greensboro and the surrounding are are using revocable (or “living”) trusts to avoid or reduce probate. A living trust allows for more confidentiality, and easier management of assets during your lifetime, while avoiding court supervised estate administration after death. This can save time, court costs and the attorney fees often associated with estates that go through probate.
For seniors and boomers (and those who love them), you may want to find a Greensboro estate planning attorney who also specializes in elder law. That’s because many people are concerned about the costs of long-term care for nursing homes and assisted livings in and around Greensboro. Often those costs can be $$75,000 per year or more. With the right senior estate planning, you can often keep more of what’s yours and make sure that your spouse never becomes impoverished.
If you have a spouse or a parent or other loved one in a nursing home, make sure that you get the right help to apply for Medicaid or Veterans benefits to help pay for that care. What you don’t know about Medicaid and Veterans benefits could cost your family nearly everything! Many people think that applying for Medicaid is as simple as filling out a form. And for someone who has no home or savings, it may be. However, for anyone who has a home, money in the bank, or other investments, the Medicaid process can be daunting. One misstep and your Medicaid application will be delayed or even denied. That’s why getting the right elderlaw attorney to assist with your application is important to make sure that the application gets approved the first time.
Greensboro is a great place to live. With the right estate and elder planning in place, you’ll enjoy it even more knowing that you’ve made smart plans for your and your family.