The holiday season is right around the corner! With the family gathered, conversations of the future may arise. Your Estate Plan is something that may not be easy to discuss with your loved ones, but this conversation is often necessary. Last month, we discussed some common mistakes that we regularly see with Estate Planning. Often, these mistakes arise from a simple lack of communication between family members. This can lead to misunderstandings about your wishes, which, in turn, can result in disagreements between family members. It is important to discuss your wishes with your family so that your care and your estate won’t be handled in a way that you disagree with.
Empowering Family Members
You may choose to appoint specific family members to be responsible for making certain decisions on your behalf when you become unable to speak for yourself. These family members, or friends, in some cases, are referred to as the “Agents” or “Attorneys-in-Fact” in your Power of Attorney documents. To learn more about what factors to consider when selecting Powers of Attorney, read our article here: http://elderlawgroupwa.com/how-to-select-your-power-of-attorney/
Your appointed Attorney-in-Fact will be responsible for making critically important decisions regarding your healthcare and finances. It is important to delegate these responsibilities in a way that matches each family member’s particular strengths. For example, one family member may keep a cool head in stressful situations while another has a great grasp of financial matters. It is also important that the person you designate to be your voice knows of your decision to appoint him or her and that he or she agrees to take on the role. Being an Attorney-in-Fact can be stressful and time-consuming so a conversation about what challenges your loved ones are currently facing can help determine your decision.
In addition to selecting the right Attorneys-in-Fact, it is also a good idea to review your Estate Plan with your family members. This discussion may help you determine the best strategy for distributing your assets to your loved ones. For example, did you know that if a family member is receiving certain disability benefits, an outright inheritance might actually jeopardize these benefits? Gathering this information can help your Elder Law attorney formulate an Estate Plan that best protects all of your loved ones.
Benefits of the Talk
Although Long-Term Care and Estate Planning are difficult subjects for many people to discuss with their families, this conversation creates an opportunity to get your loved ones on the same page about your wishes for the future – both before and after your passing. If your family knows exactly what to do when certain circumstances arise, this knowledge can alleviate their anxiety and confusion when they are called upon to carry out your wishes. Furthermore, by involving your family in the planning process, you can ensure that your family values and traditions are passed on to the next generations.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to plan for the future, protect your assets, and empower your family members, call our office today at (509) 468-0551. We would be delighted to speak with you.