Wills and estate planning may not be the most exciting things to talk about. However, in this day and age, they can be one of the most vital tools to ensure your wishes are carried out after you’re gone.
People often don’t know what they should do, or what direction they should take.
The earlier you get going and consider your senior years, the better off you’re going to be. For many, it seems to be around 55 when it comes to starting to think about long term care issues.
However, you can start your homework long before that.
Elder law attorneys focus their practice on issues that concern older people. However, elder law is not exclusively for older people, since these lawyers counsel other family members of the elderly about their concerns.
A big concern for many families is how do I get started and how much planning do I have to do ahead of time?
If you’re talking about an estate plan, what’s stored just in your head is usually enough preparation to get the ball rolling and speak with an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney.
They can create an estate plan that may consists of a basic will, a financial power of attorney, a medical power of attorney and a living will. As people age, elder law starts focusing on long term care planning for the type of care one may need, how they will receive that care and how they will pay for that care.
For long term care planning, people will frequently wait too long to start their preparations, and they’re faced with a crisis. That can entail finding care for a loved one immediately, either at home or in a facility, such as an assisted living home or nursing home. Waiting until a crisis also makes it harder to find specific information about financial holdings.
Some people also have concerns about the estate or death taxes with which their families may be saddled with after they pass away. For the most part, that’s not an issue because the federal estate tax only applies if your estate is worth more than $12.06 million in 2022. However, you should know that a number of states have their own estate tax or inheritance tax. Wisconsin does not have either at this time.
Therefore, the first thing to do is to recognize that in elder law, we consider two stages. The first is where we may need care during life and how we will pay for it, and the second is to distribute our assets after death. Make certain that you consult with an experienced elder law attorney and have plans for both in place.
Reference: WAGM (Dec. 8, 2021) “A Closer Look at Elder Law“