When crafting an estate plan, it’s important to have the plan in place before anything happens.

Putting an estate plan in place can get complicated when you suddenly suffer an unexpected injury and become incapable of communicating your desires to caregivers. Without your wishes and directions in place, your desires can be neglected or even overridden by even the most well-meaning of caregivers.

Therefore we recommend estate planning be done sooner rather than later. Since life can change in a moment, your estate plan can and should be designed now, at any age.

If you want to discuss your Last Will and Testament or talk about your estate, contact an estate planning attorney near you to consider your options.

Building Long Term Care into your Estate Plan provided by The Hill Group, LLC - Johnstown, PA

Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament outlines exactly how your want your assets handled and/or distributed when you pass. Because a will can be written in great detail, a properly drafted will removes the burden of a long, drawn-out probate process because it provides exact instructions on distributions are to be handled. It instructs the probate court what to do.
A last will and testament gives you the final say on distribution of any assets stopping any arguments or confusion. For example, if your will states the house goes to a specific daughter, other family members must respect the decision. Your  will should not allow for  second opinions or interpretation. You have made your wishes known.
Your will can also be written to leave assets to your favorite charity or cause. Again, a well written will will not leave this designation open to challenge by possibly disgruntled family members.

Living Will

While a last will and testament serves as the final orders after you pass, a living  provides active direction while you are alive.

Sometimes referred to as a medical directive or healthcare directive, a living will helps you to legally state your wishes regarding medical treatment. More specifically, a living will provides family members and healthcare providers instructions should you  suffer an injury or illness that causes you to be unable to communicate how your care should be handled.

If you should suffer an injury that results in the loss of consciousness, a living will gets activated and supplies your family what to tell healthcare professionals about your personal treatment, including any directives regarding your preferences for medical care at the end of life.

Do not confuse a living will with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. While they may sound similar, a living will clarify for the health care professionals whether you want blood transfusions, feeding tubes, and other medical technologies/procedures. A DNR order only states that, should your heart stop, you do not want any attempts at resuscitation.

Durable Power of Attorney

Estate planning can be a bit like remodeling your home: you will want professional help to make sure everything is as it should be. An experienced estate planning attorney, liked Dan Hill of the Hill Group, can help guide you as to how to include a Power of Attorney within in your plan.

Like living wills, durable power of attorney provides reliable aid while you are still alive. Should you become incapacitated and  unable to make sound decisions, the power of attorney grants decision-making power to an individual that you have named and trust to make sound decisions on your behalf.

For example you can specify that they can make financial decisions such as paying the mortgage or paying your taxes. The power of attorney limits the scope and duration generally speaking of the powers, meaning you decide, with proper advice from your attorney, what to include and exclude.

Trust Options

Trusts in estate planning generally follow three models:

Revocable Living Trust: An individual can appoint successors or an organization to handle any assets.

Irrevocable Trust: An individual can protect assets from any applicable estate taxes.

Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts: An individual can build wealth while saving on estate taxes.

We will have to get into details about Trusts in a different blog.

Care Contracts and Life Care Plans

Similar to power of attorney, these two options help empower a selected representative with the assets and authority to provide care for senior citizens. Care contracts provide compensation for long-term care providers, while Life Care Plans create a type of blueprint to follow regarding long-term healthcare needs. Whether you’re looking into estate planning, or have questions about Trusts, Care Contracts or Life Care plans, contact Johnstown Estate Planning Attorney, the Hill Group LLC for professional and compassionate guidance and help.
Contact us today at 814-536-5429 and let us use our expertise to help you with your estate plan needs.