If we have learned anything this year, it is that life can be unpredictable. We never know what is around the corner. If something happened to you today, would your family know your wishes and agree on how to carry them out? You may think they would, but too often, family’s find themselves at a loss for how to handle an illness or death. You can avoid these five difficult situations for your family by planning ahead:
Needing a guardianship or conservatorship
Without planning documents in place, such as powers of attorney, living wills, health care proxies and advanced medical directives, your loved ones will have no way to help you with your financial or healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated. They will have to establish a guardianship or conservatorship in order to care for you, which may require a long and expensive court process.
Healthcare decisions that don’t reflect your wishes
No one wants to think about being in a situation where they can’t communicate their wishes regarding their own medical treatment. The truth is, no matter your age or current health, accidents and injuries can happen to anyone. Without documents like an advanced medical directive, you will leave your doctors and family guessing at how to care for you.
Overspending assets for long term healthcare
The Medicaid process in New York is complicated and the rules change often. People often wait too long to start planning for their long term care needs. Without proper planning, they may end up paying for penalties and waiting periods or jeopardize their eligibility.
Disagreement among family members regarding probate
You hope that your family will get along when you pass away and agree on the best way to handle your estate, but everyone reacts to the death of a loved one differently. Your family may find it difficult to make decisions about your estate, especially when people disagree about those decisions. In addition, if you do not have a plan in place, you have no say over how the court distributes your assets after your death.
Required probate that could have been prevented
Not all assets have to go through probate when you die. With proper planning, you may be able to avoid probate altogether. Too often, people do not understand how their assets are titled and what they need to do to make sure they get to their intended beneficiaries. Instead, the asset ends up in the person’s probated estate, costing the beneficiaries time and money.
With so many unknowns in today’s world, your estate plan is one place where you have control over your future. Planning ahead can bring you and your family peace of mind.