Don’t Procrastinate with Your Legacy

Most of us procrastinate when it comes to life or death planning, and often we put things off until it’s too late—which puts a great burden on our loved ones to do what’s needed in a hurry and under great stress.  Putting plans in place now will make dealing with crises easier with when the time comes. Most planning doesn’t require a lawyer, but an experienced elderlaw attorney can assist you in meaningful ways while doing your estate planning—controlling your property while you are alive and well, appointing trusted agents for those times that you are not well, and then leaving your nest-egg to whom you want, when you want and how your want while avoiding every possible tax and fee.  Visit an experienced Elder Law Attorney today to help you with your funeral, legacy, and long-term care planning.

Pre-planning your funeral will help limit stress for your loved ones during their time of loss while saving your family money and insuring that your final wishes are honored.  It is sad to see a family argue over a funeral when a loved one dies; some families are ripped apart.  We all realize that one day we will die, so planning your funeral and paying in advance is a smart and practical idea. 90% of Americans believe funeral planning is a good idea, and it’s amazing that 90% of us can agree on anything.  You can even protect your assets by prepaying for your funeral plan.  Proper prepaid funeral plans will qualify as exempt or non-countable assets for Veterans pension planning, Medicaid, and other government assistance programs.  These plans are also protected from creditors.

Legacy planning, in contrast to estate planning, allows us to pass down our traditions, stories, memories and values for generations to come.  It doesn’t require a lawyer, but it does require you to put some effort in getting the information down in some form—whether it is a journal, pictures, movies, songs, scrapbook, or otherwise.  Unfortunately, most people don’t make the effort and the meaningful lives of those people are soon forgotten except their birthday and death-date.  Our families would truly appreciate knowing much more about us—it can be things like family recipes, our medical histories, family traditions, family music and stories—the things that are most meaningful about us that are worth preserving for future generations—so that our great grandchildren will know they are part of something much bigger than just their immediate family, and can fully appreciate who they are.

Legacy planning is also attractive to younger parents, who often create trusts for their minor children in their wills.  These trusts allow parents to provide for their children in the event that both pass away simultaneously.  With legacy planning, parents can also pass along a letter to their children explaining their family values and what they would like to see for their children’s futures.  This letter will always be in a safe place, even if the children do not open it until they are adults.  The parents can write similar letters to the trustee explaining priorities for their children’s care, as well as how the trustee should utilize the trust funds.

Finally, trust-based long-term care planning allows us to maintain control while obtaining assistance from government assistance programs.  Our property remains in these trusts for life, and government assistance programs do not count these assets.  In addition, the trust can protect our property for our spouse or children after we pass away.

On March 13th, Bill Alexander and other firm attorneys will hold a free educational seminar at the Holiday Inn Crabtree, where you can learn more about the legal aspects of long-term care planning.  Call (919) 256-7000 or email wga@wgalaw.com to make your reservation.  If you or your loved one needs assistance with funeral or legacy planning, or if you have questions about government assistance programs such as Medicaid or Veteran’s Benefits, consider W.G. Alexander & Associates – we offer a unique blend of asset protection, Elder Law and estate planning.  You can also learn more through our website at www.wgalaw.com or call us at (919) 256-7000.