Virginia estate planning lawyers providing peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.
Hook Law Center can help ensure that a lifetime of hard work will benefit you during your lifetime and your loved ones after your death.
Who do I want to manage my assets and personal affairs if I become disabled?
There is a 58% probability that you will suffer a disability of 90 days or more during your life. It is certain you will die. Failing to plan can cause unnecessary problems, delays, taxes and expenses, and can result in default “remedies,” being applied such as guardianships, conservatorships, and intestate succession.
According to the AARP, only 60% of people over the age of 50 have wills, only 45% have durable powers of attorney, 30% have advance medical directives, and only 23% have living trusts. As these statistics show, most people fail to make a comprehensive estate plan, and those who do probably have not reviewed their plans in years.
At a minimum, a comprehensive estate plan will address the following issues:
- Who will make healthcare decisions for me if I become disabled?
- What kind of medical care do I want if I am dying and can’t make decisions for myself?
- If I am disabled, how will I pay for my nursing home or long-term care and for the support for those who depend on me?
- Who do I want to manage my assets and personal affairs if I become disabled?
- Who do I want to settle my affairs and distribute my property after my death?
- Where do I want my property to go at my death?
- Do any of my beneficiaries require assistance or protection?
- How can I minimize expenses, taxes (income, probate, and estate taxes) and delays if I become disabled or die?
- When I die, will I have sufficient assets or insurance to pay the expenses and taxes resulting from my death and to provide for my beneficiaries?
Virginia Special Needs Estates & Trusts
There are special requirements for those who are disabled or impaired or who have immature, minor, disabled or impaired beneficiaries. In these cases a d(4)(a) or a d(4)(c) special needs trust can be created to preserve the person with special needs’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid eligibility. Those who have (1) disabled or impaired beneficiaries, (2) minor or immature beneficiaries, or (3) beneficiaries with credit, marital, or substance abuse problems can create third party special needs trusts, spendthrift trusts, or incentive trusts to protect the beneficiaries and the trust assets. Other situations in the estate planning process which require special attention are those where people have cognitive impairments, have multiple family groups or dysfunctional families, own small businesses, or own real estate property in several states.
Executors Trustees & Agents
You should regularly review and update your estate plan.
One of the most important decisions to make is the selection people to administer your estate plan. These people have a fiduciary responsibility, and depending on the capacity in which they serve, they may be called an executor, trustee or agent. No matter how well designed the plan, it can produce poor results if it is poorly managed. The individuals should have good judgment and experience in the management of money and assets, and be loyal.
A well-crafted estate plan will appoint successor fiduciaries if the originally named fiduciaries are unable or unwilling to serve. A comprehensive estate plan may incorporate some or all of the following legal documents: 1) an advance medical directive, 2) a durable power of attorney, 3) a revocable living trust, 4) an irrevocable life insurance trust, 5) a family limited partnership, 6) a pre-marital or marital agreement, 7) a supplemental or special needs trust, and 8) a will.
Frequently, it will be necessary to re-title assets and make certain the right beneficiaries appear on legal documents such as annuities, life insurance policies, IRAs, 401Ks and retirement plan accounts. In some cases, it may be advisable to purchase life insurance or long-term care insurance. Because laws and personal circumstances change over time, you should regularly review your estate plan, whenever there is a significant change or at least every five years.