Estate planning is a process to consider alternatives for, to think through, and to set up legally effective arrangements that would meet specific wishes f something happens to you or those you care about. Good estate planning is more than just a simple Will. Estate planning also typically minimizes potential taxes and fees, and sets up contingency planning to make sure your wishes regarding health care treatment are followed. On the financial side, a good estate plan coordinates what would happen with your home, your investments, your business, your life insurance, and other property in the event you became disabled or if you die. On the personal side, a good estate plan includes directions to carry out your wishes regarding health care matters, so that if you ever are unable to give the directions yourself, someone you select would do that for you, and know when you would want them to authorize heroic measures and when you would prefer they pull the plug.
For some people, estate taxes could be the largest single tax they ever face. Good estate planning will preserve your assets, transfer wealth, minimize income and estate taxes and in some cases can even increase the assets you leave to your children or grandchildren. Ask us how if you are interested. (See our FAQs on Estate Planning)
Too many people put off or avoid their estates. Unfortunately this places the decision about what happens to your assets in the hands of someone else. It can also place the burden of handling your affairs in the probate court, or on your family members.
Common Sense Elder Law Firm is committed to helping people throughout Southern Illinois and Missouri meet their estate planning and Medicaid planning goals. We have helped many people prepare their estate for the eventuality that they will spend some time in a nursing home and want Medicaid to pay for a majority of the expenses.
Estate planning is about planning for your future and the future of your heirs. Proper estate planning minimizes estate taxes while maximizing the assets that you pass on to your heirs. A proper estate plan includes a last will and testament and trusts. These can be tailored to minimize estate taxes and take into consideration guardianship issues of minor children. In addition, an estate plan should often include a living will, living trusts, power of attorney, and health care proxy in the eventuality that you are incapacitated and need someone to make decisions for you.
Estate planning should also take into consideration that almost fifty percent of elderly Americans will spend some time in a nursing home. Thus, Medicaid planning is an important consideration in the estate planning process. Estate planning is about ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Medicaid planning is about ensuring that there are assets to distribute.
Estate planning is planning for what happens after we die. We are all a little squeamish about death especially our own. This discomfort can lead to procrastination and might account for the fact that only about two out of every five Americans have a Will.
We spend our lives working hard to earn enough money and property to make the lives of spouses, children and grandchildren happier, wealthier and more secure than our own. Yet, most of us fail to do the one thing that is essential to make sure those we care about the most receive the fruits of our labor. We fail to plan our estates.
Proper estate planning doesn’t cost, it saves. It pays real dividends in dollars saved in taxes and expenses of death and in security and peace of mind. It saves time speeding the process by which property can pass from you to your family and allows you to make the critical decisions about the disposition of your property. In a very real sense, estate planning makes you the boss.
We serve clients throughout Southern Illinois and in the St. Louis metropolitan area in the estate planning process. Contact us.
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