Estate Planning is for everyone, regardless of your age or the value of your estate. You are never too young, you are never too old, but you can be too late. Below are just some of the reasons why Estate Planning is for everyone – don’t assume it does not apply to you.

 

  1. What if you become incompetent and unable to manage your own affairs? Without a Durable Power of Attorney the Court will select the person who manages your affairs. However, with a properly prepared Durable Power of Attorney you choose the individual or entity you trust that will carry out your business as you would yourself.
  2. If you no longer have decisional capacity, have a terminal condition, and become permanently unconscious, how will your wishes be known regarding life-prolonging treatment? With a properly prepared Living Will you can direct that treatment be withheld or withdrawn and that you be allowed to die naturally with only administration of medication for pain relief or the performance of any medical treatment deemed necessary to alleviate pain. You can also direct the withholding or withdrawal of artificially provided food, water or other artificially provided nourishments.
  3. Who will raise your minor children if you die? With a properly prepared Last Will and Testament, you can make provisions for a Guardian to ensure that your minor children can be raised, educated and cared for as you would have done yourself as you will be able to select the individual or individuals as opposed to the probate court judge who will be the Guardian.
  4. If you have minor children or do not wish to have your children receive your estate at young age, a properly prepared Last Will and Testament and/or Trust can set forth restrictions and conditions for funds to be held until a certain age or event of your choosing. You can also put restrictions on the distribution of Trust assets for things such as health, education and welfare of your children or for college education, among others.
  5. Children with special needs. Without a proper Estate Planning, a child with special needs risks being disqualified from receiving Medicaid or SSI benefits and may have to use their inheritance to pay for their care. A properly prepared Special Needs Trust will allow the child to remain eligible for government benefits while using the trust assets to pay for non-covered expenses.
  6. Who will inherit your assets if you die without a Last Will and Testament? Without a properly prepared Last Will and Testament, your estate pass in accordance with the succession laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If you are married, then this will mean that your spouse is fourth on the list of succession, after children, parents and siblings. If you are in a domestic partnership, your significant other is not considered an heir to your estate, unless you specifically provide for them in your Estate Planning.
  7. Estate Planning for blended families. With proper planning, such as a Last Will and Testament, Trust, and/or Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement, you can protect your premarital assets and determine what portion of your estate goes to your current spouse and children from a previous marriage.
  8. Do you own a business? Without proper Estate Planning designating who will own and control your business, you risk your family losing control of your business.
  9. If you want to avoid Probate, then a properly prepared Trust can achieve same. In addition, it can keep your estate matters private and give your heirs immediate access to your estate without the delay caused by the Probate process.
  10. Do you have life insurance or a retirement plan? Life insurance can provide additional financial security for your spouse and/or children that otherwise might not be provided for through your estate so that they can maintain their current standard of living. Likewise, you will want to make sure your beneficiary designations on retirement accounts are in accordance with your wishes to provide for your family and loved ones upon your death.
Stone Legal Group, PLLC
(502) 326-5550