Few people plan for their later years, as most are inherently optimistic about the future. As a result, few people put appropriate legal documents in place and create a plan for their family, which can save money and prevent heartache for loved ones down the road. Even those who do have legal documents in place go roughly twenty years before updating their plans. This is problematic; plans must evolve as finances and laws change frequently and family situations change with health downturns, loved ones moving away, births, divorce, and deaths. Documents should be reviewed by a professional every few years to keep your plan current and effective.
Good legal documents are important for many different reasons. First, few parents think ahead as to what would happen to their minor children if both parents pass away at the same time. Without planning, a guardianship is required, with the possibility of foster care in extreme situations. It is important to know who you would count on to take care of your children if you are gone. For seniors, these documents become even more important.
A properly drafted Will or Trust will allow you to leave your property to whom you want, the way you want, and when you want, while saving your family time and money. Every family has unique issues that can be resolved with good planning.
Without a Will, your estate may not be distributed to your loved ones the way you would like; your spouse may not receive your entire estate under North Carolina law. Your legacy may go to others through remarriage, divorce, or liability, that you could prevent with good planning.
We believe that planning for life issues are even more important than death issues. The most important documents that you can have are well drafted financial and health care powers of attorney. If you do not have either of these documents and you are no longer able to communicate decisions for yourself, your family must go to court for a judge to appoint a guardian on your behalf.
It is important to make sure that your documents are up to date, in compliance with North Carolina law, and that your powers of attorney are strong enough to provide the asset-based protection that you may need in the future. Our law firm focuses on a unique blend of Elderlaw, Estate Planning, and Asset Protection for all our clients; we believe every family needs all three to get the best planning available. Contact an experienced attorney today to help you with your planning and documents. Most people procrastinate; don’t wait until it’s too late!
Attorney Bill Alexander discussed these issues and more this past Tuesday on W.G. Alexander & Associates’ radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on TalkRadio 850 WPTK (AM). Be sure to listen every Tuesday morning from 9:00-10:00 AM. To listen to this week’s show, please visit WPTF’s on demand show blog by clicking here.