Estate Planning

Durable Power of Attorney

Do you have someone appointed to handle your finances in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself?  Most people consider who they want to leave their assets to after they die but what about while you are still alive?  Illnesses, accidents and the effects of aging are around us every day and they can be incapacitating.

You should consider a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.  This document provides for someone to act on your behalf in money matters in case you are incapacitated.  You can give this person as much or as little power as you would like. In most cases, he or she is granted power to manage your expenses and pay your bills.  Some other powers that you can grant to your agent include:

  • Hire or fire attorneys, nurses, caretakers
  • Make legal claims on your behalf
  • Invest your money
  • Run your business
  • Buy, rent and sell real estate

Regardless of how much power you want this person to have, they should be someone you trust with absolute confidence.  If you become incapacitated, they will have control over your assets and work without a lot of oversight. When choosing a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, ask yourself a couple of questions.

  • Can I trust this person with a blank check?
  • Am I comfortable talking about my financial affairs with this person?
  • Does this person have personal financial stability?

With all of that being said, it is important to note that you can revoke the Durable Power of Attorney if you ever become dissatisfied.  It is important to review all of your estate documents every three years or so because as time goes on, your preferences may change. Keeping these documents up to date and accurate is very important.  

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Need more information on end of life planning?  Check out ForeTalk – a complete and simplified guide to prepare for one of every family’s most difficult times written and taught by Stan Craig HERE.

Check out our interview with Stan Craig where he goes into more detail about end of life planning HERE.  You can listen to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.  While you’re here, make sure to subscribe and leave us a rating to let us know what you think!  

Written Will vs. Living Will

Last week, we talked about a Written Will which basically states what you want to happen to you and your assets after you die.  But what happens while you are still alive with a terminal condition and are unable to speak for yourself?

In this case, you need a Living Will.  You need to have documented who you would like to speak for you in the case that you are unable to speak for yourself.  They need to know what your wishes and desires are in regards to your medical care. Basically, you will be able to write out what you want and what you do not want to happen if you were in critical care.  

You can not only decide what treatments you want or do not want but also the duration of your treatments.  No, this is not fun to think about. But it is incredibly important that you are able to have your wishes carried out in an event such as this one.  

Here are a couple of questions that you should think about:

  • If you cannot eat or drink on your own, do you want nutrients and water through a feeding tube?
  • If you cannot breathe on your own, do you want a respirator to prolong your life?
  • If your condition is terminal, do you want to continue to receive treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy or dialysis?
  • Do you want to be kept free of pain and comfortable during a final illness?

Again, these are not fun things to think about but if you are ever admitted into the hospital with a terminal illness, you will want your loved ones and your medical professionals to know your wishes BEFORE you are unable to speak for yourself.

Lastly, when thinking about your medical directives, you should know what questions to ask your doctor.  Most people, when faced with a critical illness, will ask, “Is there anything you can do?”. However, you should instead ask, “Is this treatment going to be a bridge to healing or will it just prolong death?”.  This is important because there is almost always SOMETHING that a doctor can do for your illness. However, if it will just be painful and not actually make you better, do you really want it?

Statistics show that 40% of procedures done after the age of 65 are not only unnecessary and expensive but can also actually cause harm to the patient!  

Do not let this happen to you or your loved ones.  Make sure you have a Living Will today and hope that you never have to use it!  

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Need more information on end of life planning?  Check out ForeTalk – a complete and simplified guide to prepare for one of every family’s most difficult times written and taught by Stan Craig HERE.

Check out our interview with Stan Craig where he goes into more detail about end of life planning HERE.  You can listen to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.  While you’re here, make sure to subscribe and leave us a rating to let us know what you think!  

 

Importance of a Written Will

What do you want to happen when you die?  Because someday, you will die. Have you taken the time to put together a written will that explains clearly what you want to happen to your estate when you die?  I think a lot times we put this planning off because we do not want to think about death or we do not think that we have enough assets that this planning is important.  If this applies to you, you are not alone! The fact is, over 70% of Americans will die without a written will or plan in place for their loved ones.

A will does not have to be a long, complicated process.  There are a couple of different ways to create a will.

The first is called a Holographic Will.  Here, you can write a will entirely in your own handwriting and simply sign and date.  This is perfectly legal in many states and can be used to communicate your final wishes.  The problem comes in when people do not know how to write them clearly and contradict themselves which causes pain to those left behind.  

The second way to create a will is to hire an attorney to draw up a Simple Will.  This is the best way to assure that all state laws are met.  A Simple Will also allows you to list an inventory of your assets and decide, clearly, where you want each item to go.  This is the way to be certain that the assets you have accumulated throughout your life are passed on to those you care most about.

A written will allows you to do a variety of different things.  

A written will allows you to appoint guardians for your dependents.  

You might not know exactly who you would want as a guardian for your dependents if something were to happen to you, but I can guarantee that you know who you DO NOT want taking care of them.  Take the time to decide who would be the best caregiver for your children and other dependents and put it in writing.

A written will allows you to determine where your assets will go.

An essential part of a will is deciding where you want all of your “stuff” to go.  Cars, jewelry, houses, and family heirlooms will all go to someone. Decide this for yourself and put it in writing so there is no question what your wishes are.  The last thing you want is a family fight to break out over who gets to keep what.

A written will is our legacy gift to our Savior.

Once you die, your children and Uncle Sam will get a portion of your estate.  In the midst of this, it is easy to forget leaving a gift behind to the church.  This is important because it can and will be used to bless many others. What do you have that you have not already been given, anyway?

A written will is your opportunity to leave behind letters of gratitude.  

Arguably one of the most important thing a will allows you to do is leave behind letters to those around you who meant the most.  These letters that you write before you pass can explain how you feel about people and what exactly they meant to you. They will be cherished for long after you are gone and will mean more than any asset you could have passed down.  

Death is not a fun topic to talk about but it is so important as it is something that will happen to every, single one of us.  Why would we not we plan for it if we know it is coming? Get your estate plans in order now and update them as your life changes.  

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Need more information on end of life planning?  Check out ForeTalk – a complete and simplified guide to prepare for one of every family’s most difficult times written and taught by Stan Craig HERE.

Check out our interview with Stan Craig where he goes into more detail about end of life planning HERE.  You can listen to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.  While you’re here, make sure to subscribe and leave us a rating to let us know what you think!