A Durable Power Of Attorney Can Protect Loved Ones And Your Assets
I mentioned in a recent blog that an estate plan can help protect beneficiaries from themselves and from squandering your assets before and after your passing…
The way this is most often accomplished is by creating an estate plan which includes a Durable Power of Attorney. (I’ve provided the link to the blog at the end of this article.)
There is also what is known as a Conservatorship, but those are time-consuming to create, very expensive and usually only used when there is either minor children, or a loved one with a mental health issue that requires caregiving and/or when massive wealth is involved.
When you have family members and loved ones you want to bequeath assets to upon your death, but you know they have alcohol or drug abuse issues, are compulsive spenders, or are married to spouses that may abuse these assets, or other issues that don’t require caregivers, you can take steps to protect these people from themselves and from misusing your assets. This is integral if you were to become incapacitated before your passing.
Designate A Durable Power of Attorney For Finances And Health Care
A Durable Financial Power of Attorney (DFPOA) gives a person that you designate the authority to handle all of your financial affairs and this authority will continue even if you become incapacitated. You want to be sure that you are assigning someone you trust implicitly. It could be an attorney, though doesn’t have to be. This person is often referred to as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”, even though the person you designate isn’t an attorney. This person can handle tasks such as sorting through your mail, depositing your Social Security checks, watching over your retirement accounts and other investments as well as filing your tax returns. You can give this person as much authority over your finances as you like. Everything will be spelled out clearly in your estate plan and your DPOA documents.
A Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney (DHCPOA) will be able to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Much like the DFPOA, the authorities granted to your agent under the DHCPOA will continue even if you become incapacitated. It’s important to discuss your desired decisions with this person in advance of any mental decline or illness that would render you incapable of making decisions. Once again, this can be the same person you designate as your DFPOA for finances or someone else you trust with your life.
Create A Testamentary Trust In Your Will
Another legal method for protecting your assets and preventing your loved ones from squandering those assets is to include a Will Trust aka Testamentary Trust in your will. It’s a trust within a will. The only drawback to a Testamentary Trust is that it does not avoid probate. It provides for the distribution of all or part of an estate to go into a trust for the benefit of a beneficiary where the terms of the testamentary trust detail the distribution method entitlements of the beneficiary. The goal of a testamentary trust is to protect the inheritance from someone or for someone. here may be more than one testamentary trust per will.
Protect Your Loved Ones And Your Assets Before It’s Too Late
When you have assets and heirs that could squander those assets the most important thing you can do is to create the most appropriate legal documents based on your circumstances as soon as possible. Give my office a call at 404-370-0696 and let’s discuss the most appropriate method for protecting you, your beneficiaries, and your assets. October is National Estate Planning Awareness Month and what a great time to take this important step.
Link to blog: How an estate plan can prevent someone from squandering your assets before or upon your death.
Looking to find an experienced estate lawyer in the Georgia area who is skilled in asset protection and estate plan preparation? Shannon Pawley is an attorney in Georgia with expertise in estate planning and asset protection. Shannon can provide assistance with creating an estate plan to include making a will and how to establish a trust properly. If you have questions about asset protection or questions about making an estate plan, reach out to Shannon and she will be glad to help answer all the estate planning questions you might have!