An elder law lawyer that Warwick, RI residents trust can tell you that an estate plan is one of the most important things you can make to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets. To ensure that your wishes are followed, putting an estate plan together is highly recommended. Even if you are not a high-income earner, you can benefit from an estate plan. To learn more about how an estate plan can benefit you, contact a lawyer from McCarthy Law, LLC.
Elder Law Lawyer in Warwick, RI
The team at McCarthy Law, LLC has been helping clients with their estate planning and future healthcare needs for years. Knowing that you and your assets will be in good hands is critical. They know exactly what hardships people face when developing an estate plan that accommodates all of their needs. Knowing where to start in estate planning can feel like an overwhelming task. Regardless of what you want to include in your plan or what level of knowledge you have in regards to what you are looking for in one, a lawyer can provide you with valuable assistance. Contact a lawyer from our office today if you are in need of help.
Making the decision to hire an elder lawyer can involve many factors. You may be concerned about the additional expenses of obtaining legal help from a professional. You may be wondering if having a lawyer is the most appropriate course of action. Even if you have no concrete plan for your estate developed yet, hiring a lawyer can be highly useful. An elder law lawyer that Warwick, Rhode Island residents trust can explain your rights, educate you about estate planning and elder law, and provide you with legal advice.
The Importance of an Estate Planning
An estate plan consists of several legal documents that explain directives for how you want to be taken care of in the later years of your life, as well as directions for how your assets should be controlled and who your assets should be passed down to. Without an estate plan, your wishes may be ignored and your possessions and assets could be distributed in whatever way the state courts. While the process can be stressful, creating a thorough and detailed estate plan prevents a host of issues such as increased taxes and expenses and disputes between family members.
Estate Planning Pitfalls to Avoid
For those who do not know the basics of making an estate plan, it can be easy to make critical mistakes. Some of the following mistakes that you should avoid when making an estate plan include:
- Not naming a beneficiary
- Not including a Power of Attorney
- Not discussing your goals with loved ones
- Not updating your plan periodically
Protect and Secure Your Future
Taking the initial steps for developing a solid estate plan can make a big difference in your future. Not only can you protect yourself, but your family and loved ones will be grateful that you have an estate plan prepared. It is best to put together an estate plan while you are healthy before an emergency or significant life event occurs. Contact an elder law lawyer that Warwick, RI residents trust today if you have questions about estate planning.
Five Tips for Estate Planning
It’s sometimes hard to sort the wheat from the chaff of estate planning. One person may tell you that you need a revocable living trust, while another says irrevocable trusts are the way to go. Some people say that only a will drawn up by a lawyer and signed in front of a notary is legal, and others say that holographic wills are the way to go. Here are some tips to help you get your estate planning done right.
Do Some Initial Research
While you don’t want to use Lawyer Google, Esq. to do all your estate planning, it’s a useful place to start doing some research about different facets of estate planning. You might find a situation you hadn’t considered before, such as setting up a charitable trust or naming Spot’s or Bella’s future owner.
Get Help With Estate Planning
This is one instance where you definitely want a lawyer’s help. An elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI, from McCarthy Law, LLC is a vital component of your estate planning needs. She can advise you on the particulars of your situation; how to set up your final affairs so they’re easily carried out; and what legal documents will best serve you both now and after you’ve passed away.
Consider Your Executor of Your Will Carefully
You want your executor to be level-headed with a strong sense of business, since your last will and testament is tantamount to a business contract. In it, you’re charging your executor to carry out your final wishes from funeral arrangements to distribution of your assets. If there’s nobody who fits the bill in your life, your McCarthy Law, LLC elder law lawyer in Warwick, RC, may stand as executor for you.
Plan for Emergency and End-of-Life Care
In case an injury or illness leaves you incapacitated, you want to know your desires regarding medical care are honored; you need a living will and healthcare power of attorney to make that happen. Make sure your living will is on file with your primary care physician and any area hospitals where you may be treated. Your healthcare power of attorney should name someone who’s good under pressure and can make fast decisions in accordance to your wishes.
Update Your Estate Planning Documents Regularly
Estate planning is by no means a one-and-done proposition. Any number of life events can necessitate changes in your plans, including:
- A new heir being born
- A beneficiary dies
- A prospective guardian for your minor children has a change in circumstances and is no longer willing or able to fill that position
- You acquire new assets such as cars or jewelry
- You divest yourself of assets
4 Things To Do After a Loved One Passes
It can be challenging to remember all of the personal and legal obligations that come when someone close to you passes away. Some people seek the advice of an Elder Law lawyer in Warwick, RI, such as the ones at McCarthy Law, LLC, to assist with items such as estate planning before someone passes. Here are four things to do after a loved one passes.
1. Honor Immediate Wishes
Whether your loved one died in a hospital, long-term care facility, or at home, you will want to make sure that their wishes for what happens to their body are honored. Check any wills or directives to see if they wanted to be buried or cremated and where they wanted their final resting place to be. In addition, make sure that any children or pets your loved one cared for are placed with someone according to their wishes. Often, these things will have been discussed with an Elder Law lawyer in Warwick, RI, if your loved one had hired an attorney.
2. Notify Family and Friends
If there are any family or friends who live far away who may not have heard about the death, try to contact them to let them know what happened. Although notifying is a difficult thing to do, most people would appreciate hearing about someone’s death through another close family member or friend rather than finding out through an acquaintance.
3. Carry Out the Will
Whether your loved one made their own will or drafted one with the help of an Elder Law lawyer in Warwick, RI, it is essential to locate this document and carry out your loved one’s wishes regarding their finances and personal property. Decisions regarding the will should be made by the executor of the will, which is the person who was named by the deceased to manage and execute the items in the will. If there are any questions about who the executor of the will is, you may need to consult legal advice from an office such as McCarthy Law, LLC.
4. Take Time For Yourself
While you might be busy planning funeral arrangements and carrying out your loved one’s will, it is crucial that you take time out for yourself as well. Take the time you need to grieve and seek out the support of other family members and friends.
Be prepared for these four tasks in the event that someone close to you passes away.
Elder Law Lawyer in Warwick, RI
An elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI can help you plan your future – and your legacy. Mapping out how your estate should be handled after your death isn’t just good for your peace of mind; it’s good for your family, and it’s the best way to make sure they’ll stick together after your passing.
We all have our reasons, but most people try to avoid thinking about what should happen to their possessions after they die. It’s not always a cheery subject, but it’s important to spend time planning out what will happen to everything you’ve worked hard to build for yourself and your family over the course of your lifetime. Everything you’ve made for yourself over the years serves as a testament to your dedication to your family and friends – and it’s only fitting that they share in your work once you’re gone.
Fortunately, you don’t have to plan everything out by yourself. An elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI can work with you to create a will or living trust that you can count on, and the right attorney can help you navigate the complicated legal red tape that comes with your estate.
Wills and Living Trusts: Planning Your Future
Wills and living trusts are great ways to make sure your estate is divided fairly between your beneficiaries and according to your wishes. However, there are a few key differences to understand before you decide on which is best for you.
Wills are typically easier to write up, but if you only leave behind a will, it means your family will have to go through the probate process. Probate is lengthy and frustrating, and there’s plenty of opportunity for infighting at every step. The entire process involves tracking down all of your assets and ascribing value to each of your possessions and then paying off any debts, fines, or taxes that may still be part of your estate. It can take several months, and there’s no guarantee your family will be satisfied with the arrangements, which means they can contest the will.
On the other hand, a living trust means your family won’t have to deal with probate. Unlike a will, a living trust requires more input over the course of your lifetime – this is why it’s referred to as a living trust – and you’ll need to add or adjust whatever assets are in the trust. As an added bonus, while a will is only really active after your death, a trust is active the moment it’s created.
Whatever option you choose, you should always consult with an elder law lawyer before making your decision. Fortunately, McCarthy Law, LLC, can help you plan for your future.
Help from an Elder Law Lawyer Warwick, RI
An elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI knows that as we get older, we begin thinking about what is really important to us. Our families, our friends, charities, and what will happen to our property after passing away. If you are beginning to think about estate planning and wonder if it is worth it, consider what may happen to your estate if you do not create an estate plan. At McCarthy Law, LLC, we have helped many people who are considering creating an estate plan get started on this journey and help give them peace of mind when it comes to taking care of their loved ones after they are gone.
What happens if I simply choose not to create any kind of estate plan?
If you have heard that without an estate plan your estate will go through probate court, you are partially correct. You may be thinking that if a court will take care of all of this for you, then you do not have to worry about creating a detailed estate plan. However, it is important to understand that probate court does not take care of every aspect of your estate and that without a plan, only the items that would be in a will can go through probate. Some things that will not be a part of this process are:
- Your retirement account
- Property you may own jointly
- Your life insurance proceeds
- Your payable-on-death accounts
This means that these very valuable items may automatically pass on to someone you do not want them to go to, such as an ex-spouse.
Things become complicated quickly when you die without an estate plan, as your Warwick, Rhode Island elder law lawyer understands. Because it is possible for your property to go to someone in the family you do not want your property to go to, it is best to create a plan where you can name specific beneficiaries.
What will happen if I have no surviving family members?
If you pass away with no estate plan and the court is unable to locate any person related to you (siblings, grandparents, any degree of cousins), then it is likely your property will go to the state. This does not happen very often because the laws surrounding intestate succession rule that your property will pass on to anyone who is even slightly related to you.
If you are beginning to stress about your lack of estate plan, look no further than McCarthy Law, LLC.
Reach Out to McCarthy Law, LLC Today
At McCarthy Law, LLC, we understand the importance of your legacy. A lifetime of achievements and investments should go to those you care about after your passing, and we know that it’s essential to do everything you can to ensure your assets go to the right place. By working closely with an elder law lawyer, you can gain valuable peace of mind by drafting up a satisfactory will or living trust.
Don’t leave the future up to chance. Contact an elder law lawyer in Warwick, Rhode Island today, and see how McCarthy Law, LLC can help you build a future for your family and friends.
Do You Have a Will?
A will ensures your family and friends will be able to divide your estate according to your wishes, and an elder law lawyer in Warwick, Rhode Island can help you create a will that satisfies you and your beneficiaries.
It’s not always pleasant thinking about what will happen after you die. Most people don’t like to dwell on the subject, but that doesn’t make dying any less frustrating and difficult for those you leave behind. When you leave behind family and friends, you want them to be cared for – and you certainly don’t want them bickering and infighting over whatever you want to pass on.
If you don’t have a will, it’s up to the state to decide who manages your estate, and that’s not always a good thing. The state will usually choose your spouse or one of your children, but if you have any vindictive exes or estranged family, they might attempt to wrestle control of your estate out of the hands of your more trusted family members.
Instead of leaving your legacy up to the state, take time to contact an elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI. By working with a qualified attorney, you can draft a will that will keep your loved ones’ best interests in mind, and you can take steps to prevent the will from being contested in court after your death.
A death without a will is a nightmare, but a death with a will is a slightly more manageable nightmare. Read on to learn more about what comes after your death, and see how an elder law lawyer can help you make the process as streamlined as possible for your family and friends.
The Probate Process
When you leave behind a will, the assets you want to bequeath to your beneficiaries don’t just magically show up on their doorstep. Instead, they have to jump through a series of legal hoops to prove that the will is authentic, and they have to make sure the instructions of your will are followed to the letter. If you’ve named an executor in your will, it’ll be their responsibility to manage your estate.
This process is known as probate, and it’s up to your executor to ensure everything goes smoothly. They’ll have to notify all of the beneficiaries listed in your will, and they’ll have to get in touch with all of your creditors to settle any outstanding debts. Probate is carried out by a probate court, which means fees and taxes thrown on top of everything else.
Once these steps are all taken care of, your beneficiaries will finally – finally – get what you’ve left behind for them. It’s a difficult and frustrating process, and to make matters worse, there’s potential for dispute around every corner. If some members of your family don’t agree with your choice of executor, they can challenge the appointment. They can try to take control of the estate, and it can cause a major headache for everyone involved.
Common Myths About Estate Planning
Only Wealthy People Need Wills
If you own anything at all, and you want to control who gets it when you pass away, you need a will. Your property could be something big like real estate or a car, or something small like a box of family heirlooms or an antique glass collection. Having a will ensures that your designated beneficiaries will receive these items after you’re gone. An elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI, such as McCarthy Law, LLC, can help you draft your will, no matter the size of your estate.
Trusts Are Just for Rich People
A good rule of thumb is that if you have in excess of $100,000 in net worth, a trust could be a good legal vehicle for your assets. Your elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI, can help you determine if a living trust could be of benefit to you, or if a testamentary trust that goes into effect when you die would be more appropriate.
You Don’t Need a Healthcare Power of Attorney
Many people think that all you need is a healthcare advance directive, and you’re all set. But what happens if you’re injured and need immediate medical care at a hospital where your advance directive isn’t on file? If you are incapacitated, you may not be able to make your wishes known. This is exactly why you need a healthcare power of attorney to advocate on your behalf. Make sure your healthcare power of attorney is in your emergency contacts on your cell phone or in your wallet.
You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Even if your estate is small, you should seek legal advice to make sure you’re not missing something. You could wind up leaving your heirs little more than a hefty estate tax bill and a few old photo albums. An elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI, such as McCarthy Law, LLC, can also help you set up a durable power of attorney, a healthcare advance directive, a healthcare power of attorney, and any trusts that would allow your heirs to receive their inheritance more quickly.
It’s Too Late for Estate Planning
It’s never too late for estate planning. That being said, it’s never too early to start estate planning, either. The more time you give yourself and your lawyer, the more smoothly things can progress after you pass on. Probate — the legal process that starts when you die — can be a nightmare, but with a little planning, an elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI, can help you make it an easier process for the executor of your estate.
Contact an Elder Law Lawyer Today
You might not have to deal with the challenges of probate, but your loved ones will. Keep things as simple as possible, and reach out to an elder law lawyer in Warwick, RI as soon as you can.