You worked hard for the assets you've accumulated. The last thing you need is to lose your assets because you need medical treatment or long-term nursing care. Your estate plan can help to keep your assets protected as long as you take appropriate steps. Consider these tips as you work on getting your estate plan together.
#1: The earlier the better
It is easy to put off making your estate plan. After all, it isn't really a pleasant thing to think about. Taking a little time now to think about these things can help ensure that you don't lose everything you worked so hard on. You never know when something will occur that leaves you incapacitated, so don't think you have time to put off making these plans. Additionally, you can't try to protect your assets just prior to filing for Medicaid as you enter a nursing home. Time limits apply for taking this action.
#2: A comprehensive plan is best
Your estate plan should include a variety of elements. The will is often the backbone of the estate plan because it lets your heirs know what to do with your assets. You may also need to include trusts into the estate plan. There are many different types of trusts, so think about how each type can impact your estate plan. For example, if your goal is to qualify for Medicaid when you need nursing home care, you need a specific type of trust to meet that goal.
#3: Don't forget powers-of-attorney
Your estate plan isn't complete without you designating people to handle making decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. Your powers of attorney are important documents. You can designate someone to make health care decisions for you. You can also designate someone to take care of financial decisions. If you have children, you must also think about who is going to care for them if something happens to you. You can create a guardianship designation for any minor children or children with special needs.
#4: Regular reviews are important
You can't simply forget about your estate plan once you make it. To protect your assets, you should review the estate plan periodically to ensure that it still meets you r needs. Review your estate plan at least annually, but take the time to go over it if you have significant changes in your life. Getting married or divorced, having a child, starting or ending a business or accumulating more assets are some examples of times when reviewing the estate plan is necessary.