The Golden Age of Estate Planning

The Trusts & Estates website (via Wealth Management.com) has this interesting analysis of America’s current tax laws and estate planning. The highlights:

  • Every adult should have an estate plan” – you need (1) a will and/or trust, (2) a living will, a (3) durable financial power of attorney, and (4) a medical powers of attorney. Check out Estate Planning 101.
  1. Review your estate plan with your attorney every 3-5 years.
  2. Be alert for changes  – (a) spouse or family member’s death, (b) moving to another state, (c) divorce or remarriage or having children, or (d) becoming disabled or chronically ill – which require estate planning revisions.
  3. What about your executor/trustee, guardians and conservators for your children and/or yourself, and your attorney in fact (your agent)? Have your family dynamics changed since you’ve last done estate planning? Family members died or grown up?
  • Asset Protection – if you’re a professional (lawyer, doctor, accountant, engineer), business owner/serial entrepreneur, or someone who’s likely to be sued, consider an asset protection trust to protect your hard-earned assets from creditors, divorcing spouses, or spendthrift kids. Check out Asset Protection 101.
  • Elder Law – who will pay your bills if you’re in an assisted living or nursing home or develop dementia? Will you qualify for Medicaid, Veteran’s benefits, Social Security disability, or other benefits? Prepaid funeral arrangements? Check out Elder Law 101.
  1. Long term care insurance – how will you pay for assisted living or a nursing home? Many facilities cost up to $3,000-$5,000/month, quickly draining even the wealthiest families, and potentially leaving a spouse or other family members with nothing more than memories.
  • Insurance – do you have insurance to replace income if you become disabled or die suddenly leaving your family? What about paying taxes and debts? Starting the college funds for kids, grandkids, and great grandkids? Leaving money to your church, synagogue, or favorite charity?education funding for younger
  • Retirement income – how do you fund your lifestyle for 20-40 years of retirement?
  1. Social Security – maximizing benefits that you’re paid into
  2. Retirement plans – 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs
  3. Annuities – a “guaranteed income stream for the life of a retiree”

My law firm, Johnson Law KC LLC, has extensive experience working with families on estate planning, asset protection, and elder law issues. Whether you’ve got $5,000 or $5 million, I’d love to serve your legal needs and give you and your family peace of mind that comes from good planning. Give me a call (913-707-9220) or email me (steve@johnsonlawkc.com) for a convenient, free consultation.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.

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