Estate Planning in the New Year

New Year’s resolutions are usually decisions to accomplish a goal or break a habit. They often include introspection, re-evaluation of life choices, and planning beneficial personal and professional lifestyle changes. One of the best resolutions for 2021 is to create or revise an estate plan. Estate planning can help set goals for financial security and provide for loved ones. It is an opportunity to document preferences for health care and provide management of assets in incapacity or death. In addition to guiding the distribution of a decedent’s assets, an estate plan can convey a chosen guardian’s name for minor children. It can create a succession plan for a business owner to transfer control of a business to another. In today’s technological world, estate planning can provide instructions for digital assets’ disposition.

 

The Creation of a Will or Living Trust is Pivotal to Estate Asset Protection

There are key differences between a last will & testament and a living trust. However, either of these documents can be utilized to control the distribution of assets in an estate. Decedents without either of these documents are said to die intestate. It means that their assets are distributed at the discretion of the probate court system, regardless of the deceased’s wishes.

 

  • A living trust designates a trusted person to manage your estate for times of incapacitation or after death, without a costly and time-consuming probate proceeding. Trusts must be funded, which is the process of transferring assets while the grantor (the person creating the trust) is living. Those items not transferred into the trust are subject to probate court.
  • A last will & testament is a roadmap for the distribution of assets; however, it must pass through the probate process. Probate can be a lengthy and costly process, while the court reviews and validates the will before closing out the estate. Parents with minor children are encouraged to complete a will. In this document, the parent can designate a legal guardian for their children.

 

Advanced Directives and a Power of Attorney to Manage your Health Care and Finances

Health care advanced directives are legal documents that include a health care proxy, a living will, and a do not resuscitate order. (referred to as a DNR). These documents voice medical wishes in the event of physical or mental incapacitation. They guide health care providers to follow a patient’s wishes and authorize a chosen agent to make health care decisions. Examples of vital health care decisions are artificial nutrition and hydration, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, blood transfusions, and more.

A power of attorney is the legal appointment of a trusted person to manage business affairs for an unavailable or incapacitated person. In addition to health care concerns, it is essential to have a power of attorney in place for someone traveling and unable to be contacted or deployed in the military service. The scope of authorization can be time-limited, valid for certain transactions only, or all financial matters. A power of attorney is invalidated following a person’s death.

 

Why Health Care Advanced Directives matter in Mass Torts

Recovery from a mass tort lawsuit due to injuries, illnesses, and even death, can be a lengthy process. An incapacitated person does not lose their rights in a litigation context if they have an agent named in an Advanced Directive to act on their behalf. The Michael Brady Lynch Firm has successfully litigated mass torts settlements for more than two decades. We can provide proper estate planning to guide the allocation of settlement proceeds after death to bypass the process of probate.

The Right Attorney can help you Create a Strategy to Meet your Goals

At the Michael Brady Lynch Firm, we create comprehensive estate plans to ensure that your assets will go to those you have selected. When the time comes, we want to ease your survivors’ administrative burden as they deal with their grief. We handle all legal matters in creating an estate plan or estate administration with knowledgeable and compassionate support. We remain current on state and federal tax laws to reduce your taxes, protect your assets, and use the tax laws to your advantage.

 

 

 

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