Estate Planning The Important Legal Documents That You Need
There are several important financial documents that every adult should have. Furthermore, along with having copies with your attorney, it is important to keep additional copies in secure locations and with trusted individuals. These include Last Wills and Testaments, Powers of Attorney, and other estate planning documents.
Wills, Living Wills, and Trusts
If you’re not sure when the most appropriate time is to prepare your Will, it is recommended for adults under 40. Recent figures indicate that 51% of people in the United States aged 55 to 64 have not drawn up a Will to date. Furthermore, 64% of the general population has not created this important document yet.
Do you have assets that are worth 6 or more figures? If so, it would be a good idea to have a Trust prepared in addition to your Will. This can be beneficial for several reasons, which include minimizing estate taxes.
As of 2015, for example, the estate-tax exemption enables you to leave bequests valued at $5.43 million without your recipients being required to pay federal estate taxes. Furthermore, when you have a Trust in place, it can also assist with avoiding probate.
Many seniors choose to have Living Wills created. These are also referred to as advance directives, whereby their health care, long-term care, and/or other wishes are outlined. The percentage of seniors that have had these documents created increased from 47% in 2000 up to 72% in 2010 alone.
When you are appointed as a Will’s executor, you have several responsibilities. These include filing an inventory of the estate with the courts within 60 days after your appointment. You will also be required to provide a sworn statement related to this inventory. The exception to this is if you are exempt under a Will.
Powers of Attorney
The costs associated with having a qualified estate attorney draft documents to nominate a Health Care Proxy and a Durable Power of Attorney vary. These may, for example, range from $500.00 to $1,500.00.
The Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trust and Estate Acts conducted a national survey. The results showed that a number of respondents experienced difficulty with obtaining acceptance regarding Powers of Attorney, according to the Alabama Uniform Power of Attorney Act:
- Occasional difficulty: 63%
- Frequent difficulty: 17%
Unfortunately, elder financial abuse as well as other types of exploitation of Powers of Attorney exist. The MetLife Mature Market Institute estimated that in 2009 alone, elders experienced $2.6 billion in financial losses.
Since Power of Attorney statistics are not comprehensively tracked, this figure is based on the information that was available at that time. Furthermore, it is believed that this approximately level of financial abuse occurs on an annual basis.
Do you require legal services for estate planning? Whether you need legal services to draw up a Will, a Living Will, aPower of Attorney, or attend to another legal matter, it is important to do so at your earliest convenience. Even though you may not anticipate your family or other future beneficiaries needing these documents for quite some time, it is important to have them ready should an unexpected need arise.
If you require legal services because you have been taken advantage of by your Power of Attorney, then it is important that you schedule a consultation with an elder law attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to assist you with this and other important matters.