70% of Adult Americans Do Not Have an up-to-date Estate Plan or a Last Will & Testament
It’s no surprise why 70% of adult Americans put off estate planning or even writing a Last Will & Testament.*
For many, it’s simply procrastination – thinking about your own death is not enjoyable and the cost of an estate attorney is often another reason to put it off.
Others think believe they don’t have many assets to protect in an estate plan – a common myth.
If you own a home and have savings and retirement accounts, without the right documents your loved ones may end up in probate court.
Another common myth is the assumption your spouse automatically inherits everything if you don’t have a Will – this is not entirely true.
Far too often, these myths lead to loved ones going through unnecessary stress and legal expense when an unexpected tragedy strikes.
At Retirement Transition Advisory Group, we feel it’s our responsibility to make you aware of the importance of Estate Planning.
Even better – we can help you prepare the crucial documents you need without the high hourly fees of an estate attorney.
Why a Last Will & Testament is Important
Your Will ensures all of your assets are distributed the way you want. Without one, the court will decide how your assets will be divided. And if you have young children, it enables you to choose their guardian – not the family court. Keep in mind – a Will only covers property subject to probate. Assets that fall outside of probate that require naming a beneficiary are not subject to probate court.
The Advantages of a Living Trust
A revocable Living Trust can be used to manage your assets if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions. You can name a person you can count on as your Successor Trustee who can take over management of your assets until you are able to do so yourself. You can include instructions on how to distribute the trust assets after your death which makes a Living Trust a dual-purpose estate planning tool.
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) vs. General Power of Attorney
Did you know a General Power-of-Attorney document is null and void if you become incapacitated? That’s right – when you’re unable to make your own decisions, a Power Of Attorney document must include the term “durable” to show your intent and remain in effect. With a comprehensive DPOA, your selected agent can make decisions about your property, finances, investments, paying your bills, and sign documents on your behalf until you’re able to do so yourself.
Advance Health Care Directives
Advance Healthcare Directives help ensure your preferences for medical care or end-of-life treatment are respected. The official titles vary from state to state that’s why important to check your state law. These types of documents include:
- Living Will
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (also known as Medical Power of Attorney or Health Care Power of Attorney)
- Designation of Health Care Surrogate, or Health Care Proxy
- Advance Directive – combines a Living Will and Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Life Insurance – An Important Part Of Your Estate Plan
Life insurance is also an important component of your estate plan. It can provide tax-free protection for beneficiaries and it does not fall under the jurisdiction of probate court. In addition to being another asset in your estate plan, it helps eliminate the burden on your survivors who may need to cover immediate expenses related to your death.
For more information about any of the products and services listed here, schedule a meeting today or give us a call.