Legacy Planning

More Than Your Estate Plan - Your Legacy

 

“Lack of planning is the cause of most failures.” - Brian Tracy


Clients often ask us about “asset protection.” Because our clients are mostly health care providers who can be sued for malpractice, their concern is about exposing their personal assets, such as their home, to plaintiffs in a lawsuit. A common misconception is that forming a corporation will shield a physician owner of the corporation from exposure in a malpractice case. This is not correct. In order to shield personal assets from being taken in a malpractice case,  an estate plan which includes “asset protection” should be developed by an attorney who performs estate planning legal services.

 

We recommend that our clients create an estate plan that includes asset protection. And we even encourage our young clients who are just starting out to do so as well.  But we do not just recommend it because of potential malpractice exposure. Read on.

 

Who needs an Estate Plan? Almost everyone but for different reasons. For some, the most urgent motivation is to provide for guardianship of minor children and for the administration of trust funds on their behalf. For spouses in second marriages with children from a previous marriage, an effective estate plan can ensure fair treatment of all concerned. Many families have special circumstances like siblings who cannot get along, a special needs child, or addiction/codependency issues. For persons of great wealth, it is important that complex assets (including business assets) are managed for future generations and that unnecessary taxes are not incurred.

 

A session with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help sort out the issues and address them accordingly. Ensuring that family dynamics and difficult personalities do not interfere with your wishes is a primary objective.

 

You have the right estate planning attorney if he/she listens, asks the right questions, communicates in a manner you can understand and has the necessary experience in Estate Planning.

 

The following are the basics of Estate Planning:

 

  • Last Will and Testament

  • Power of Attorney for Property

  • Power of Attorney for Health Care/Living Will

  • HIPAA Patient Authorization

  • Revocable Living Trust

         
A step beyond the basics of Estate Planning is Legacy Planning. Some considerations may be:

 

  • Have you written down your family history? Or memorialized important events in your life?

  • Have you provided gifts for your favorite charities?

  • Have you planned for the care of your pets? (a Pet Trust)

  • Perhaps your good friends would like a little, inexpensive item that belonged to you like a handkerchief, knick-knack or small item of apparel. Give your executor the authority to make these gifts.

  • Instead of simply bequeathing your estate to the people you love, you can direct that your estate be used for a purpose which is important to you. You can leave an education fund for future generations, for example, or provide for an enhanced retirement income for older family members.

  • Would you like to donate your organs for transplantation or research?

  • Have you taken the time to tell your family how you feel about hospice care or end of life decisions?

  • Would you like to fund a party in your memory at your “local” restaurant or tavern?

  • Would you like to give your family a special vacation to celebrate your life?

  • Would you like to fund a special project at your church? Library? Or Museum?

         
What legacies would you like your family and friends to remember about you?

For further information about estate and legacy planning, please Contact Us.

Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only.  They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice. 


 

 

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