SECURE YOUR LEGACY
It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in, your family will always need estate planning. Being prepared and controlling how and to whom your estate is given when you die or become incapacitated is something all adults need to do. Planning for death or incapacity can save your family thousands of dollars in taxes, administrative expenses and litigation costs.
The process of planning for your death and organizing your estate can be a difficult subject. You can never be too early in planning your estate but if you recently went through, or will be going through, any of the following life triggering events you should organize your estate today: 1) getting married, 2) having children, 3) starting a business, 4) buying a home, 5) a health scare, or 6) the death of a spouse.
At the Schindler Law Office, we will ensure that your wishes are carried out the way you want, and not how the State of Ohio dictates. We will custom tailor your estate plan for your family’s particular needs by utilizing wills, revocable living trusts, powers of attorney, and other probate avoidance techniques to protect your family and your assets.
A will is essential at every stage of life. Your will is used to formally name the heirs who you want to receive your property after you pass on. A will also names an executor to settle your affairs and names a guardian who will care for your minor children. If you die without a will, the court will determine how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your business or your pet thereby making decisions that may not reflect your desires.
A living will (also known as an “Advanced Directive” or “Physicians’ Directive”) is a legal document that expresses a person’s wishes about medical treatment if they are unable to communicate these instructions during terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. The Living Will spells out the types of medical treatments and life-sustaining measures you do and do not want, such as mechanical breathing (respiration and ventilation), tube feeding and resuscitation.
A living will is necessary if you want to avoid the situation of being on permanent life support or being hooked up to a machine with no chance of recovery. If you know that you would not want extraordinary measures taken to sustain your life if such measures will only serve to delay the moment of your death, it is a smart idea to execute a Living Will.
HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY
The health care power of attorney allows you to designate someone to be your agent or “attorney in fact” in the event you are unable to make or communicate decisions about all aspects of your health care. Your attorney in fact can authorize and refuse medical treatment for you and explain to your doctors what your medical wishes would be if you were able to communicate. For example, your doctor or hospital may consult with your attorney in fact should you be injured in a car accident and become temporarily unconscious.
DURABLE FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
A durable financial power of attorney allows you to designate someone to be your agent or “attorney in fact” to manage your finances in the event that you become incapacitated or are unable to make those decisions yourself. You can set the limits of your agent’s power, granting as much or as little power you think is appropriate.
The kind of tasks your agent will commonly perform include: paying your bills, paying medical expenses, managing real estate assets, operating your small business, selling your assets or paying your rent or cell phone bill. For example, if you are on vacation and forget to pay your mortgage, your agent will be able to sign your check and make the payment to the bank for you per the written instructions set forth in the durable financial power of attorney.
UPDATING YOUR ESTATE PLAN
Creating an estate plan is not something that should be completed once and then left in a drawer never to be seen again. You need to keep your plan up to date as the years pass, and your life, the people in it, and the laws around you change. You should revisit your estate plan to make sure that it achieves your current goals.
Certain key life events such as the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, the death of a spouse or a significant increase or decrease in assets may trigger the need for a review and update of your plan. Key triggering events include:
If you already have an estate plan in place, it’s a good idea to update it every three to five years. Call the Schindler Law Office today for a free consultation to review your goals and discuss your options.
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