How to Choose a Health Care Proxy
In addition to having the conversation, it’s important to choose a health care proxy (agent) – the person who will make decisions about your medical care if you become unable to make them for yourself.
Do You Have Your Legal Documents in Place?
Most of us prefer not to think about what may happen or even discuss what may happen to us if we are in an accident or die. But avoiding it, you place yourself and your family in jeopardy. Getting your key estate planning documents in place will give you and your family peace of mind.
If you do not have a health care agent, Maryland Law provides a hierarchy of persons to serve; these may not be your preference. Therefore, we suggest that you prepare an Advance Directive/Health Care Power of Attorney.
How to Talk to Your Doctor
After you have had the conversation with your loved ones, the next step is talking to your health care team about your wishes. Don’t wait for a medical crisis; talking with your doctor or health care provider now makes it easier to make medical decisions when the time comes.
11 Reasons to Create an Estate Plan Now
- LOSS OF CAPACITY. What if you become incompetent and unable to manage your own affairs? Without a plan the courts will select the person to manage your affairs. With a plan, you pick that person (through a power of attorney).
- MINOR CHILDREN. Who will raise your children if you die? Without a plan, a court will make that decision. With a plan, you are able to nominate the guardian of your choice.
- DYING WITHOUT A WILL. Who will inherit your assets? Without a plan, your assets pass to your heirs according to your state’s laws of intestacy (dying without a will). Your family members (and perhaps not the ones you would choose) will receive your assets without benefit of your direction or of trust protection. With a plan, you decide who gets your assets, and when and how they receive them.
- BLENDED FAMILIES. What if your family is the result of multiple marriages? Without a plan, children from different marriages may not be treated as you would wish. With a plan, you determine what goes to your current spouse and to the children from a prior marriage or marriages.
- CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS. Without a plan, a child with special needs risks being disqualified from receiving Medicaid or SSI benefits, and may have to use his or her inheritance to pay for care. With a plan, you can set up a Supplemental Need Trust that will allow the child to remain eligible for government benefits while using the trust assets to pay for non-covered expenses.
- KEEPING ASSETS IN THE FAMILY. Would you prefer that your assets stay in your own family? Without a plan, your child’s spouse may wind up with your money if your child passes away prematurely. If your child divorces his or her current spouse, half of your assets could go to the spouse. With a plan, you can set up a trust that ensures that your assets will stay in your family and, for example, pass to your grandchildren.
- FINANCIAL SECURITY. Will your spouse and children be able to survive financially? Without a plan and the income replacement provided by life insurance, your family may be unable to maintain its current living standard. With a plan, life insurance can mean that your family will enjoy financial security
- IRREVOCABLE TRUST. Utilizing an Irrevocable Trust for asset protection and Medicaid planning.
- RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS. Do you have an IRA or similar retirement account? Without a plan, your designated beneficiary for the retirement account funds may not reflect your current wishes and may result in burdensome tax consequences for your heirs (although the rules regarding the designation of a beneficiary have been eased considerably). With a plan, you can choose the optimal beneficiary.
- BUSINESS OWNERSHIP. Do you own a business? Without a plan, you don’t name a successor, thus risking that your family could lose control of the business. With a plan, you choose who will own and control the business after you are gone.
- AVOIDING PROBATE. Without a plan, your estate may be subject to delays and excess fees (depending on the state), and your assets will be a matter of public record. With a plan, you can structure things so that probate can be avoided entirely.
Request FREE Estate Planning Information
Call us now for estate planning assistance at (301) 663 9230 (Frederick) or (240) 450 0070 (Rockville) or complete our Consultation Request Form.