Do you really need an estate planning lawyer to help you prepare your legacy? You would not be breaking any laws if you try to plan your own estate. But then again, you would not be breaking any laws if you try to replace the engine in your car with no mechanical background.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why you would do well to engage an attorney when you decide that it is time to put an estate plan in place.
Choosing the Right Asset Transfer Device
There are websites that sell boilerplate, fill-in-the-blanks legal documents, including wills and trusts. As a layperson, do you know which estate planning document is right for you and your family? Many people assume that a will is the right choice, but is this really true?
We will not get into all the details here, but there are a number of different reasons why you may want to look for an alternative to a will. A living trust can be a much better choice for a wide range of people, and contrary to popular belief, some trusts can benefit people that are not extremely wealthy.
In addition to the living trust, there are other types of trusts that can be used to address certain specific situations. For example, people with disabilities often rely on Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, which are need-based programs.
An improvement in financial status can cause a loss of eligibility. There is a particular type of trust that can be used to make a person that is in this position more comfortable without impacting the benefits.
This is just one scenario that can be best served by the utilization of a trust, but there are many others. The point is that you have options, and you should certainly explore them so you can make fully informed decisions.
There are legal requirements that must be met to ensure the proper administration of an estate. A will would be admitted to probate, and the court would provide supervision during the administration process.
The inheritors do not receive anything until all the necessary legal steps have been taken. Do you know someone that would act as your executor that has a thorough understanding of this process? In a similar manner, there are legal guidelines for the administration of trusts.
When you discuss everything in detail with a licensed estate planning lawyer, you can be sure that all the documents are properly executed. It would then be possible to engage the attorney to help guide your family and your administrator through the estate administration process.
People that do not discuss all the details with a professional may overlook a very important piece of information. Most seniors will require long-term care, and 35 percent of elders will eventually reside in nursing homes.
According to the state, the average annual cost for nursing home care in Ohio is about $84,000. Medicare does not cover the custodial care that you would receive in one of these facilities.
The average length of stay is one year, and married couples may be faced with two separate sets of nursing home bills. Medicaid will pay for a stay in a nursing home, but you cannot qualify if you have significant assets in your own name.
Though the rules are complex, if you take the right steps at the right time, you can live comfortably while you prepare yourself for future Medicaid eligibility. On the other hand, if you do nothing, a nursing home may ultimately absorb your legacy.
Schedule a Remote Consultation!
As you can see, legal assistance is invaluable when you are planning your estate. If you are ready to put a plan in place, we are here to help.
You can give us a call at 513-721-1513 to schedule a remote consultation appointment, and if you would rather reach out electronically, send us a message through our contact page.