The Elderlaw Firm - Dennis Toman - HeadshotDennis Toman

Dennis Toman founded The Elderlaw Firm with a mission of planning and protecting for local families, to be better prepared for elder care and other legal issues for the second half of life. Please call 336-396-8988 ext. 208.

Death or incapacity can creep up on anyone. If you’re not prepared, your family could bear a heavier burden when handling your estate and financial affairs. Here are five tips to help everyone lighten the load.

Make an estate plan

One of the most important things you can do to get your affairs in order is to make an estate plan and then to update it regularly. This way, you will have the proper protections and documents in case you become incapacitated, such as a Power of Attorney and Living Will, or if you should pass away, such as a Last Will and Testament, and Revocable Living Trust.

Fund your trust and name beneficiaries

To avoid probate issues, you should properly fund your Revocable Living Trust. In addition, you should check that all your other financial accounts and policies have beneficiaries named on them. Remember, if leaving assets to any underage beneficiaries, you should leave assets to a trust for those younger beneficiaries. If your accounts go through the probate process, it can result in extra delays and costs.

Review your accounts

It’s a good idea to review previous actions for titling accounts and naming beneficiaries. You can work with an estate planning attorney to set up a schedule of how often to review your accounts so you know they’re where you want them to be.

Protect your assets

There are numerous strategies you can use to protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit, creditor situation, divorce, or if you need to enter into a long-term care facility. Annuity planning, irrevocable trusts, and other forms of asset protection planning are available, and you can discuss these with a qualified attorney.

Leave information about your documents

If someone becomes incapacitated or passes away, it’s important that their loved ones can find and access important documents. This will allow them to handle financial affairs and settle the estate if needed. You may also want to leave a list of all your important passwords and online accounts in case anything needs to be done with them in your absence.

If you would like to get more information about estate planning or if you’d like to discuss your existing estate plan and how it matches up with your current situation, please set up an appointment at our law office by calling 336-396-8988, ext. 208.