If you’re on this page, you are likely thinking about planning your estate and may have been told that it is a good idea to have an Estate Planning Lawyer Memphis, TN at Patterson Bray guide you through the process. Perhaps you tried to do so on your own, but realize it’s more complicated than you initially thought. Regardless of how you landed here, what’s important is that you have made it and can feel peace of mind in knowing you’ve made a good choice.
Why Get Help From an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Long term care planning is part of the estate planning process. You may have worked hard for many years and would like your savings to provide you and your family with a good life. Perhaps you would like to pay for your grandchildren’s education or a round the world trip. If you fail to plan out your long term care, you might risk losing money for the things you would like to do or give.
As you work with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Memphis, you might find that long term care planning is one of the most challenging parts of the process. Part of the challenge comes from the very fact that you don’t know what will happen to you. For example, if your health declines, you may need to be placed in a nursing facility. On the other hand, you may be perfectly healthy until the day you die. Although it is difficult to predict what care you might need, if you do ever need it, the costs can be extremely high. The average cost of a standard nursing home facilities in the U.S. is $6,000 – $8,000. This does not usually include treatment, surgery, or medications.
Regardless of your current state of health, it is inadvisable to ignore your long term care considerations and planning. By organizing your long term care with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Tennessee, you can have a better chance at enjoying your retirement while also leaving a legacy to your heirs.
What About Medicaid Planning?
Most older people, and families, will rely on Medicaid for long term care. This is the only government-funded option available, and not every person will be eligible. In 2015, those who had less than $14,850 in countable assets would qualify for Medicaid. Many people misinterpret this rule and think that if they have more than this amount in assets, they have to pay for their long term care. This is not true.
As a Tennessee Estate Planning Lawyer in Memphis might explain to you, you should not pay for healthcare that could be covered by Medicaid. That said, there are some assets that are exempt from the requirement limit. Those that are not covered may be included in trusts and gifting programs. Bare in mind that the rules for receiving Medicaid benefits are continuously changing.
Protecting your assets and wealth is far more than gifting assets or transferring them to a family member or a trust. In fact, with Medicaid, there is a look back period. In general, if you’ve transferred assets in the last 5 or so years, you could be penalized. An Estate Planning Lawyer located in TN can help you to understand whether you are affected and how to navigate through the path of options.
What Is a Will?
Being prepared for the unthinkable does have to mean days of unrest or stress. Making sure that those you love are well cared for should be the goal when trying to draft a document contemplating your death.
Do you know what goes into a will and what doesn’t? Understanding some of the basic elements that need to be included, and those things that do not may help you be ready when it comes time to sit down with an estate planning lawyer and draft one.
The Basics Behind a Will
A will is a way to convey your final wishes regarding the disposition of personal property and individual assets. It is a legally binding document that will likely need to go through a court process called probate. This court process ensures that things get done per your wants and desires as outlined in the will.
Requirements of a Will
For a will to be legal, it must contain certain things. First, you must appoint an executor. This is someone who you should either know very well and trust, such as a spouse or sibling, and who you know will be able to handle the duties of the position. The executor must be the liaison with the court and gather all necessary documents that are required under the probate process. The will must also be executed properly, in the presence of two unrelated witnesses.
What a Will Cannot Do
There are limitations to what can be accomplished in a will. If you are looking to do anything besides leave personal, singly owned property or assets to someone, you need to do it some other way. A will also cannot:
If you want to do anything listed above, you need to do so by other legal documents the estate planning attorney can help you create.
Other Ways To Pass Along Money
A will is not the only way you can leave something to heirs. Some accounts require you to name beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts and trusts. These can be powerful tools in your estate planning arsenal.
Creating a will is the responsible thing to do so no one in your family has to go through a lengthier court process. Choose an estate planning lawyer who may provide you with the information required to make the best decision possible.