Who Needs Estate Planning?
If you want to have a say in who receives your property and who will be in charge of your affairs, you need to plan. Many people mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. The truth is that even if you have very little, Tennessee’s laws of intestate succession will determine who gets your property and who controls your estate if you do not plan for yourself during your lifetime.
What Kind of Estate Planning Do I Need?
In addition to a Last Will & Testament, everyone needs: a Durable Power of Attorney (the document that appoints someone to control your financial and business affairs when you are alive but unable to handle them yourself); a Healthcare Power of Attorney (the document that appoints someone to control your healthcare decisions when you are unable to make them); and a Living Will or Advance Directive (the document that directs your Healthcare Power of Attorney and physicians about specific care you do or do not want to receive).
Your family situation or your financial situation may also benefit from a trust. A trust agreement is a document that spells out the rules that you want followed for property held in trust for your beneficiaries. While there are many kinds of trusts, most of them seek to help protect property that you are leaving for others from creditors, divorce, or tax burdens.
Other more complicated forms of estate planning include making gifts and business-succession planning.
Should I Also Plan for My Care at the End of My Life?
The cost of long-term care is expensive and continues to rise. Someone turning 65 today has about a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care during their lifetime, and about 20% of seniors will need long-term care for longer than 5 years. The average length of time people need long-term care services is 3 years.
In Tennessee, the average cost for 3 years of long-term care is $262,800 ($87,600 per year) at 2019 rates. That cost is projected to be $474,645 ($158,215 per year) in 2039. And not only seniors need long-term care: over 35% of people currently receiving long-term care services are between 18 and 64.
Planning for long-term care is an individualized and technical process that looks carefully at your assets, liabilities, and unique family situation. Most people end up using a combination of private funds, long-term care insurance, and Medicaid to pay for long-term care.
If you do not plan ahead for your long-term care costs, the default option is private funds, or your life savings. Given the numbers above, private pay can eat through a sizable portion of your life savings in a few short years.
Make sure that you consult an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney to ensure that you have something left to pass on to your family after you are gone. The sooner you begin planning for long-term care, the more you can accomplish.
Planning for your future, both for your estate and your long-term care needs, is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones. You all can have peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order and that you have taken careful steps to prepare for what lies ahead.
Planning your future doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The Tennessee Center for Estate & Elder Law was founded out of a true passion to help seniors and their families confidently navigate important decisions about estate planning and end of life care. We offer comprehensive legal services to help you navigate planning to finish life well and to leave a legacy for your loved ones.
The Tennessee Center for Estate & Elder Law, PLLC was founded in 2020 by experienced local attorneys Amy Farrar and Amanda Moore to provide holistic estate planning and elder law services. The Tennessee Center for Estate & Elder Law, PLLC seeks to be a one-stop shop, providing clients with legal documents and advice related to estate planning and elder law, alongside other professionals who can assist clients with the practical side of selecting long-term care facilities, ensuring proper care and nutrition at home, bookkeeping and accounting services, and support for the families of seniors.
Article originally published at VIP Murfreesboro, here.