Protect what you have. You worked hard for it.
No matter what your age, you need to make smart decisions about how to protect your assets. What do we mean by "assets?"
- any type of savings
- real estate
- retirement accounts
- a business
- life insurance
You will also need to make decisions about how your affairs will be handled when you die or if you become incapacitated. That includes:
- who will manage your assets, your medical, health and life care decisions
- who will care for your minor children or children of any age with special needs
- who will help manage financial decisions for children who are not good with money
- who will take care of your precious pets
There are a number of tools that you can use to put together an estate plan.
- Last Will & Testament
A Will is essential to ensuring that your decisions are honored after you are gone. You’ll need to select decision-makers, people who will act as executor and/or trustee of any trusts created in your Will. You’ll need to consider whether there are any family members who require special protection and who could benefit from a trust. Examples include spouses with dementia or other chronic conditions; disabled children; children who are spendthrifts; minor children; and other beneficiaries who require help with financial management.
- Revocable Living Trusts
A trust can provide for financial management in the event of your incapacity as well as after your death. The most common type is a revocable living trust. Keep in mind that if you create a trust, you will still need to have a Will.
There are several reasons why a trust could be a good document to have. You could:
- Avoid probate
- Possibly reduce your tax liability
- Keep the details of your estate private
- Protect your property for certain beneficiaries
- Health Care Directives
Health care decision making is also an important part of estate planning. Like the power of attorney, having documents in place in advance ensures that you’re able to retain control and have a voice in your own health care decision-making for as long as possible.
While you’re still able to make decisions, you select a health care representative to communicate your health care wishes in the event of incapacity. If you don’t have a representative, it is possible that the probate court may have to appoint a conservator to make health care decisions along with other personal decisions for you. You can see why it is extremely important to get these tools in place now.
- Durable Power of Attorney
The most basic tool to ensure that if you become disabled mentally or physically, your assets can be accessed and managed with the least expense and without court intervention is a power of attorney. The powers that you grant in a power of attorney are broad and are intended to permit the attorney-in-fact to step into your shoes.
- Special Needs Trusts
A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that protects money intended to enrich the life of your loved one with special needs, while preserving his or her eligibility for public benefits. Our Connecticut special needs attorneys can create the trust for you and help you understand how they work.
- Pet Trusts
A pet trust is an arrangement that specifies how your pets will be provided for and taken care of financially if you pass away or become ill or disabled.
We’d be happy to help you put your estate plan together. Call us today at (860) 236-7673.