Over the years, we’ve heard of numerous famous people who died without having an estate plan. Aretha Franklin of most recent – as well as Prince. Let’s add a few more – Abraham Lincoln, Kurt Cobain, Martin Luther King, Jr, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Heath Ledger, Bob Marley, Howard Hughes, Marvin Gaye, Pablo Picasso, John Denver . . . not to mention Jeff Sanchez, Mike Charles Jones, Freddy Talman and Roger Clickville.
I hope you are asking, “who the heck are Jeff Sanchez, Mike Charles Jones, Freddy Talman and Roger Clickville?”
The answer – they are fictional. I just made them up – to illustrate that this issue is not about famous people – it is about the everyday person. There are millions of Jeff’s, Mikes, Freddies and Rogers who died intestate without a will.
When you pass away without an Estate Plan, the consequence is that your estate must be probated. Probate – at its most minimal cost, always exceeds the cost you would pay for a normal estate plan. Beyond that – the proceedings are public, and your assets are distributed according to your state’s law of intestate succession. There is no chance to protect the money from your children’s creditors or to carefully develop a special needs trust for a child or loved one with such needs. There’s another missing component.
A proper estate plan includes two necessary documents while you are living – a Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney. The Durable Power allows your designated person (called your Attorney in Fact) to handle your financial affairs for you while you are living but unable to do so – or where it’s too difficult to do so. If faced with the need for a nursing home – the Durable Power is critical to allowing necessary transfers to be properly made to do crisis Medicaid Planning – which is needed to save your assets for your spouse or family rather than allowing them to be rapidly exhausted by the $10,000 – $12,000 per month the nursing home will charge.
The Healthcare Power allows your designated person (called your Patient Advocate) to make critical, end-of-life decisions when you are at the end stage. So, when you hear of people who died without a will – in virtually all of these situations – these other documents were not in place and that means there was unneeded chaos prior to the death – as well as what ensued after.
So – take care of business. Attend our next Estate Planning Seminar and learn what you need, the cost, and take advantage of the Certificate you will receive by attending. Details are below. Don’t add to the list of Jeff Sanchez, Mike Charles Jones, Freddy Talman and Roger Clickvilles! – Take Care of Business.
Enjoy the day and week ahead.