- Estate Planning
One important element of estate planning is preparing for situations where you might not be able to manage your own finances, either due to incapacity or because you are otherwise unavailable. In these scenarios, it’s crucial to ensure that things like mortgage payments and insurance bills continue to get paid and that your financial life doesn’t come to a standstill.
A power of attorney for your finances is the best way to prepare for this situation. This document will authorize an agent that you choose to step into your shoes and handle your finances according to your instructions.
The authority granted in a power of attorney can be as narrow or broad as its creator desires. A narrowly drafted power of attorney can be useful if you want to authorize someone to do something very specific in your absence, such as maintain a home. If you’re looking for someone to completely manage your finances in your absence, it’s best to grant them as much power as possible.
When you speak with an estate planning attorney, they will review your financial situation and discuss your wishes to determine the best way to draft this legal document.
A power of attorney can be written to be “durable,” meaning that it will continue to be in effect even if it’s creator becomes incapacitated. This document can also be written to be either “springing” or “immediate.”
A springing power of attorney only comes into effect when its creator becomes incapacitated. While this is useful in controlling who has access to your finances and when, it should be noted that when a power of attorney is drafted to be springing, it will require signoffs by medical professionals who will need to confirm that you are in fact incapacitated.
This extra step can sometimes cause delays in putting the document to work, which can in turn result in delays in attending to your finances. If you would prefer to avoid those delays, it would be best to have the document go into effect immediately.
The last important thing to consider when creating a power of attorney is who will be authorized as your agent. Depending on how your power of attorney is drafted, your agent may have full control over your finances, and thus should be someone that you completely trust and know to be capable of handling financial matters.
A power of attorney is a necessary part of any good estate plan and will ensure that your finances remain intact even in a situation where you are not there to manage them. An experienced attorney can create this document for you and make sure it legally reflects your wishes. At Rosenblum Law we’re here to guide you through this process step-by-step. Call us now for a free consultation.
Estate planning is about more than just choosing where your property will go when you pass away. Another major part of this process involves preparing for the possibility that you will one day become incapacitated and need others to make medical decisions on your behalf.
This is accomplished through the use of two legal documents: the healthcare proxy, where you will designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf; and the living will, where you will lay out your preferences regarding various conditions and medical treatments.
When creating these documents it’s important to consider a few things. First, the person you choose as your healthcare representative will need to be someone who will be available when called upon to act. They should be capable of speaking intelligently with medical professionals and willing to follow your instructions regarding treatment, even if they might disagree with them.
You’ll also need to think very carefully about the different medical conditions and treatment options that you would find acceptable or not. The goal of a good living will is to provide your healthcare representative and family members with guidelines to use should they ever need to make these medical decisions for you. This is also the time to go over any religious requirements you might have with regard to your healthcare or post-mortem care.
Creating an estate plan that includes a living will for situations where you have become incapacitated can be a difficult process. At Rosenblum Law we work hand-in-hand with our clients to make sure that your estate plan provides both you and your family with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes, regardless of what comes next. Call us today for a free consultation.
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When someone passes away, the state where they resided or held property oversees the wrapping up of their affairs through a process known as probate.
Generally speaking, probating an estate involves three elements: Submitting a last will and testament to the state if there is one in place, paying off outstanding debts including the filing of a final tax return, and distributing the assets in the estate, either according to a will or if there is no will, then according to state law.
If there is no dispute amongst potential heirs and the estate consists of assets that are not too complicated or diverse, this process can be very straightforward. However, things can get complicated quickly in a variety of situations.
If there is a dispute over the validity of the will, whoever submitted the will to the court will be required to defend its validity. If there is no will, the beneficiaries will need to be determined by reviewing the state’s intestacy laws, which will explain how to distribute the assets based upon the heirs relationship to the person who has passed away.
Other common probate issues include situations where an executor or administrator of the estate either refuses to act or does so improperly. Another problem may arise where the estate assets are structured in a way that makes it difficult to distribute them as required by either the last will or state law.
Lastly, it’s often the case that family members will argue over items in the estate or its proposed distribution. When this situation arises, it may be best to bring in a third party who can assist in distributing the estate assets without any appearance of preference toward one heir or another.
The process of probating someone’s estate can be very straightforward or extremely complicated. If you’ve been tasked with this responsibility and are unsure of where to start, Rosenblum Law can assist you with guidance and a free consultation.
Sometimes the nature of a person’s assets and their goals for distributing their property will require a living trust in their estate plan. Living trusts are legal entities funded with the assets of the trust maker and placed into the care of a trustee who will oversee the trust and ensure that its terms are followed.
There are a few important reasons to consider using a living trust as opposed to a standard estate plan with a last will and testament. These include: avoiding probate, protecting heirs from creditors, and exerting more control over one’s assets and how they are distributed.
Probate refers to the process of administering a person’s estate through the court system. While this process can be quick and uncomplicated, there are many scenarios where going through probate can become both complicated and expensive.
If you’re curious whether you should make an estate plan which aims to avoid the probate process, an experienced attorney can review your finances and goals for the estate to determine the best estate plan for your unique situation.
The other important reason to consider creating a living trust is to protect your heirs from issues like creditors or an inability to manage finances. If you’re concerned that one of your heirs might not be able to manage an inheritance properly, or that their creditors may pursue this inheritance to satisfy a debt, using a living trust may provide you with some options to avoid these situations.
Additionally, the use of a living trust will allow its creator to stipulate exactly how their assets should be distributed and under what circumstances. This may be useful, for example, when one wants to distribute some assets only if certain conditions are met.
Once again, it will be important to speak with an estate attorney about the details of your family dynamic and financial situation to determine which estate plan would be best for you.
At Rosenblum Law our attorneys provide free consultations where we will review your individual situation and provide you with the best estate plan based on this information. Call us today to ensure that your affairs are handled according to your wishes.
A good estate plan consists of several documents that together will ensure that one’s affairs are handled according to their wishes, both during their lifetime and after they pass away. The last will and testament plays a vital role in designating how your assets will be distributed, who will administer your estate, and how minor children will be cared for in the event you pass away unexpectedly.
Your last will and testament will contain several important sections that will provide instructions to your loved ones on how to handle your affairs once you pass away. These include naming your heirs, choosing fiduciaries, and naming guardians for minor children.
When choosing your heirs and deciding how to distribute your assets it’s very important to consider how your inheritance will be received and by whom. If any of your potential heirs has financial issues or is not capable of handling money, this should be considered before creating the will.
When you speak with an estate attorney, they will work to understand your entire financial picture as well as family dynamics, and provide you with options on how best to proceed in these scenarios.
Another important part of creating a last will is choosing your fiduciaries, or those who will be tasked with carrying out the instructions provided within the will. First, you’ll want to name an executor. This person will be the one responsible for gathering the assets in your estate, paying off your debts, filing your final tax return, and distributing the property according to your wishes.
This can be a complicated process, so it’s best to choose someone who you believe will be capable of handling these responsibilities during a stressful time.
In addition to naming an executor, if any of your beneficiaries are minor children, you’ll want to name a trustee who will be responsible for managing their inheritance until they reach an age where they are capable of doing so themselves. The last will is the only place where one can name a legal guardian to care for minor children.
Choosing the right person for any of these roles requires careful consideration. When you are working with an attorney to create an estate plan, they will guide you through the questions you should ask both yourself and the people you are considering for these roles.
Dealing with the passing of a loved one is always difficult and can become even more so if a dispute arises over their estate. Disputes can arise in many forms, but they primarily fall into one of two categories: contesting the validity of a will or disputing the actions of a fiduciary.
When contesting the validity of a last will and testament, evidence will be key. You’ll need to show that the person who created the will either did so while under the undue influence of another, while they lacked the mental capacity to create the document, or that they were not involved at all and the will has been forged.
When you speak with an estate attorney about the dispute, they’ll guide you through important questions to help establish the order of events and assist you in locating and gathering the necessary evidence.
Ultimately, the dispute will need to be resolved through the state courts, where your attorney will present your evidence and argue that the will in question is invalid and therefore should be thrown out.
The other main category of estate disputes arises when a fiduciary either fails to act or does so improperly. The word “fiduciary” when referring to estate matters can include those in various roles including executor, administrator, power of attorney and trustee.
Anyone in these roles is tasked with certain responsibilities that they are required to perform, whether it is gathering estate assets, paying off debts, creating trusts or distributing those assets either in accordance with a last will or state law.
If anyone in one of these roles either fails to act or does so improperly, such as distributing assets to the wrong person, then you may need to litigate in state court to either remove them from this role or force them to act appropriately under the circumstances.
Oftentimes this litigation will be between family members and can become both heated and complex. When you work with an estate attorney they will guide you through this process while also ensuring that your rights are protected and your inheritance is received. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your matter.