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Tips, resources and information on Trusts, Wills, Power of Attorney, Health and Long Term care and much more. These pages will help you preserve your assets for your heirs.

Estate Planning Information

What do I do to protect all that I've earned and pass it on to those I believe deserve it?  This is one of the best problems to have at the end of life.  It usually means that you've achieved great things that have helped many people, while being very careful with what you've earned.  If this is you, congratulations!  If you're here to learn what to do incase you end up with something you could call an estate, check out our pages on Financial Management Planning Help for tips on how to get there.  It isn't as far as you think.  There are many ways to protect your estate assets with the proper planning, for taxes, long term care expenses, medical expenses, and Trusts or Wills to properly disburse what's left.  To help you plan for your future, try these recent, popular books on wills and estate planning.

Estate Planning Information for Taxes:  I have what many consider odd advice on estate planning for what you owe.  Based on recent tax legislation, many in the Government feel you're rich if your family earns more than $ 75,000 per year...not enough to mortgage the average home in California.  According to the IRS website, any estate that exceeds $ 1,000,000 is subject to Federal estate tax.  I used to think a million dollars was a lot of money.  If you own the average US house (paid off) in 2005 ($ 500,000+/-) and keep it for about 10 years, you'll be a millionaire.  Many individual States have estate or inheritance taxes, as well.  Even if you feel the taxes are unfair, it will probably be more costly to dodge the taxes than to pay them.  The purpose of this page isn't political, but to provide planning tips to make sure, within the confines of the law, that what you have earned is preserved and given to those you feel deserve it.  This takes planning and great advice.  That's why we recommend you have a good lawyer, licensed in your State, who has a good reputation.  There are many who make claims they can legally manipulate your estate to dodge estate taxes or other Government regulations.  Be very careful!  Some of these will either take your money and run or worse, do illegal things with your money before they run, tying you and your loved ones up in confusing legal matters at a time when things are hard enough.  If you don't know a reputable lawyer, ask someone who's opinion and experience you trust to refer you to one.  In the absence of that, research with your State Government and Bar Association before retaining any lawyer.  Do not retain anyone based on an advertisement claim or Directory listing.  Financially, this is everything left of your life's work.  It's too important to trust to just anyone.  To help keep all those figures straight, here's the top-selling estate planning software.

Estate Planning Information for Long Term Care Expenses: Senior Communities range so much in style and services, it's almost impossible to fix a price.  It can go from independent (monitored) living mini-apartments around $ 1,500/mo, minimum assisted living around $ 2,000/mo, fully assisted living around $ 4,000/mo, to skilled nursing around $ 5-10,000/mo.  At these rates, it's easy to see how you can blow through a lot of wealth in a short amount of time.  Fortunately, a few of these expenses are covered under Medicare.    Many feel, rather than pay these high prices for care, they can use an insurance instrument to cover the costs.  We discuss this at Long Term Care Insurance Health.  Something to consider when planning long term care is when you want that care to stop.  With modern medicine, they can keep a body alive for decades after you're done with to speak.  This types of care has costs at the upper end of the skilled nursing range.  To preserve your estate and, more importantly, your family's sanity, give some thought to a living will...see our page Purpose Of A Living Will for more information.  An alternative that may or may not save you money, depending on your needs, is in-home-care.  Even if it's a little more costly, the care may be more personal and flexible than in an institution.

Estate Planning Information on Medical Expenses: My sister recently passed away after 6 weeks in intensive care.  She accumulated $ 1.4 million in hospital bills.  She had full-coverage medical insurance up to a maximum of $ 1 Million.  Fortunately, we believe Medicare will pay the rest.  The point of this is to tell you to make sure you have as much of the best medical insurance you can get.  Dying is expensive!  It does us no good to pay tens of thousands to have the best estate legal plans, just to end up spending it all on the hospital because we were so thrifty we got an inadequate medical insurance package.  See our page Medicare and Medicaid-Use-Abuse for more information.

Estate Planning Information on Trusts, Wills and Other Legal Documents: Now, finally, the fun part of estate planning...who gets it.  Anyone bright enough to actually have an estate can figure where it goes for themselves, but I do have one caution on that subject, then we'll move on to how to get it to them.  Here's the caution! Giving some people money is like pouring gasoline on a fire.  One person I know left his daughter about $ 20,000 which promptly went up the nose of her and her boyfriend (drugs).  The caution is, sometimes, money harms irresponsible people.  It's almost better to leave a statement as to why they didn't get anything than to follow mere tradition and give an undeserving person money.  OK!  Back to our subject.  There are a couple documents that can be used to transfer assets at death.  See our page Living Trust Basics-Advantages for more information.  

No matter how large our estates are, there is much insecurity at the end of our lives.  Control of our lives and estates goes to others gradually, then suddenly.  Eventually, like everyone else, we face the end almost alone.  There is Someone who loves and wants to help you and your family.  That Someone is God.  If you want His help for your estate, your family or yourself, click on God Help Me.

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