As someone between the ages of 40 and 55, research shows you are in your peak earning years. This is also a peak time to review your estate plan. Do you have all your ducks in a row?
Address Issues Before They Arise
Your estate plan should include a Will, a durable power of attorney, and an advance healthcare directive. A Will, of course, only goes into effect after your death. But the other documents very much affect you and your family right now.
For example, incapacity becomes more of a possibility as we age. If you do become incapacitated, your family will not have the authority to act on your behalf without the proper estate planning documents. A general durable power of attorney will allow a trusted family member or friend to handle your financial and legal decisions. Otherwise, your family would have to file for a conservatorship to gain the authority to help you. The money and time spent going to court could have been better spent.
Doctors may find themselves confused about who to consult with regarding your health. Due to privacy laws, they usually cannot talk to others about your medical treatment without authorization. An advance healthcare directive allows someone you trust to speak for you. Otherwise, a family member would have to file a guardianship petition with the court in order to consult with your healthcare providers. An expensive, time consuming court case doesn’t help anyone.
Let the Long-Term Care Planning Begin
This is also a perfect time to lock into a long-term care insurance policy or asset care policy. Age and pre-existing medical conditions may make it difficult or impossible for you to qualify for these important policies later in life. Some asset care policies may even provide the benefit of a life insurance policy or annuity payable to your beneficiaries.
In addition, estate planning tools like asset protection trusts may help you protect your ability to qualify for government benefits, while preserving your children’s inheritance.
Estate planning can protect everything you have for everyone you love.
At Adams & Miller, P.C., we make it our business to help clients like you make thoughtful, informed decisions about their estate planning.
To learn more, attend one of our FREE estate planning workshops. Please call (256) 237-3339 to register for a workshop or to schedule an initial consultation. You may also request an appointment through our website. We have offices in Anniston and Birmingham, but also serve clients in Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.