In one famous quote, Philip Crosby notes that, “if anything is certain, it is change. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.” This quote is especially true in terms of estate asset protection. Although none of us plan to die tomorrow, and the majority of us don’t anticipate our desires being contested after our death, it pays to plan ahead for the unforeseen world of tomorrow.
As 72 million baby boomers continue to age into and past initial retirement, estate planning attorneys will be in continually greater demand. Here are three things boomers should know about estate planning in order to ensure adequate asset protection after disability or death.
1. How Revocable Living Trust Differs From a Will
If you want to prevent court supervised probate from occurring after your death, then a trust might be your choice for what to leave behind. Wills and trusts each have their own unique benefits, and you should discuss the difference between them with your probate attorney in order to make sure you have the right fit. Trusts, for example, are less ideal for parents who wish to name a child’s legal guardians, or leave instructions for handling debt.
2. What a Good Estate Planning Attorney Will Advise
Did you know that, no matter what your will says, assets like your life-insurance policy or bank account will pass directly on to the beneficiary? For this reason, it’s important to re-check how you’ve titled your assets as a matter of ensuring financial protection. The executor of your estate will have little choice over these matters. Pay attention as well to joint accounts. If you plan on leaving your children equal amounts, but one child shares an account with you because they need help paying bills, the account itself will pass to them “by operation of law.”
3. What You Need Besides the Will (or Trust)
According to Barry Glassman, a wealth management specialist, there are three things we should all have besides just the will, and they include beneficiary designations, financial power of attorney, and medical power of attorney. Financial power of attorney allows you to designate someone who can make financial designs on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated, while medical power, predictably, allows you to designate a medical decision designee.
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