How much have you left to chance? It may be more than you think!
The reality is…only about 20 percent of the population has a formal written estate plan. Taking the proper measures to put a plan in place today will allow for you to KEEP CONTROL when you may not be able to HAVE CONTROL! At the very least, the documents listed below should be included in your Estate Plan.
Don’t Leave Your Estate Planning to Chance
1. Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust
If you die without a Last Will and Testament or Revocable Living Trust, North Carolina will simply make one for you…via the North Carolina Statutes. Essentially, a Will or a Trust is a set of instructions on how YOU wish for your assets to pass, to whom you want them to pass and what restrictions, if any, you want placed on those distributions. North Carolina has no interest in avoiding or reducing your estate taxes, minimizing your estate’s administration costs, protecting your family and legacy or being benevolent on your behalf. If you want the final say in how your estate is distributed, you need to have a Will or a Trust.
2. Healthcare Power of Attorney
This is a document that will allow you to nominate someone to make medical decisions for you on your behalf during a time that you are unable to do so. Even after you sign this document, you will be able to make your own medical decisions as long as you are capable of doing so. When your primary physician decides that you are unable to make decisions for yourself, then the person that you nominated (your agent) to make decisions for you will start to do so. This person steps into your shoes and makes the decisions that you would have made if you could have done so yourself. This document can be as broad or limiting as you wish.
3. Living Will
You are able to also dictate how you wish to be cared for if you are determined to be terminal and incurable through a Living Will. Essentially, it directs and authorizes the physician to withhold and discontinue procedures you specify. The procedures and treatments to be withheld and withdrawn may include surgery, antibiotics and artificially administered feeding and fluids. The treatment is typically limited to measures that comfort and relieve pain, even if such measures will shorten your life.
4. Financial Power Of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to name a person (an agent) to assist you with your financial affairs. If you own an asset in your name alone, you are the only one the financial institutions will allow to make changes to or inquiries on the account. Your agent, depending on how broad or limiting you are in your wishes, will be able to assist you in making deposits, writing checks, transferring funds, etc. You have options as to whether the document is effective immediately upon your signing it or whether you want to require that you become incapacitated prior to your agent having authority.
If you do not have a Will/Trust, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will and Financial Power of Attorney, you are leaving a lot to chance.
If you need assistance in getting your Estate Plan in place, please call our Charlotte, North Carolina Wills and Trust firm at (704) 843-1446. We will be happy to assist you in putting a plan in place that meets you goals and wishes. And please feel free to download the free eBook 5 Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney.