Estate Planning In the Winter of Our Lives
By Mildred V. Palmer, Attorney at Law
Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC
Winter is a time for reflection and planning. This is true for the winter of our lives. As we age, questions related to estate planning take on a more defined tone. Questions are no longer a matter of “what if” but become a matter of “when”. Certain matters grow in importance as we settle into the winter of our lives.
Who Gets What When? As you reflect on your life, consider your natural beneficiaries: spouse, children, grandchildren as well as the community, charities and other local organizations. What is the highest and best use of your assets? Should certain individuals receive money or assets outright, while others have it held for their benefit? Should you give money and assets to family members before death, or should you wait for after death to have assets transferred? Families are messy creations. As you approach the winter of your life, considering your family, your assets and your wishes can make a world of difference.
What if You Need Nursing Home Care? As our physical limitations increase with age, our need for help also increases. At least half of the population will need some sort of care from outside of the family. From in home helpers, to moving to a skilled nursing home, it is important to understand the options and the costs. By planning in advance of need, costs can be reduced and family assets protected for future generations. In the winter of our lives, reality needs to be addressed.
Who Will Make Decisions for You? One of the greatest issues with aging is having someone to turn to for decision making. At some point, even if you will not be in a nursing home, the time will come when you no longer want to balance your check book or make your health care decisions. Aging happens. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Having the right person steer the ship as you reach your winter is essential to a graceful aging process.
What is My Legacy? Time for reflection, for review and recollection is important not only to you, but to family now living, and those yet to come. Use this time of your life to reflect on what has been important to you, and on what you would like to leave as your legacy.
As we age and reach the winter of our lives, planning and reflection make all of the difference. As long as you have capacity, that is, the ability to make informed decisions, it is not too late to plan. Just like planning for snow and ice, make plans for your winter.
Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law.
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