One of my colleagues got married this last weekend. I asked her how she met her husband and she told me a rather serendipitous story: A few months before a big move, one of her friends predicted that she would meet someone who would make her decision to go through with her move more difficult, i.e. she would fall in love with someone. Over her assertions that this was nearly impossible, he said “You never know.” Later that week, she was in a jewelry store with another friend who was shopping for a wedding band. The clerk urged my colleague to try on engagement rings. My colleague declined stating that she did not have a boyfriend and had no interest in trying on rings, to which the clerk replied, “You never know.” The next weekend, she was in an antique shop trying on hats when she stumbled upon a wide-brimmed hat with a veil attached. Another patron remarked how fitting it looked on her and commented that she should buy it. My colleague replied that she had no need for such a hat and did not want to pack it for her move. “You never know,” the patron replied as she continued her own shopping. The next week she met her husband.
Each time someone told her “You never know,” she said, “Sometimes you do.” Besides being a nice story, it is a good reminder about how the best-laid plans might change. Although she did eventually move, she delayed the trip until he was ready to make it with her. It goes to show that at any moment things might go wrong, things might go right, but things will always go the way they will in spite of your efforts.
Planning for changed plans is what estate planning is all about, and it is best done by an attorney who is a specialist in the area and can help you achieve the level of flexibility you need. It isn’t just about writing a will to distribute your property. It is about preserving enough assets for yourself for end of life care and deciding who should be able to manage your finances and your care in case you are unable to do so yourself.
Planning for Medi-Cal and VA benefit eligibility through a QMap or QVap trust will allow your family to maintain flexibility and control over the sale of your home in case it is needed, while providing effective tax planning. Your Powers of Attorney documents will state your preferences about how your care should be managed and how your finances should be handled. Tailoring your plan to meet your specific goals and needs can’t be done by online legal “services.”
Furthermore, end-of-life care planning should be done early and kept up to date. People in their 20s can get into car accidents that leave them needing help or suffer debilitating ailments just like those in their 80s. Ensuring that you have a solid set of documents that you understand will ensure that you are allowed to live and die with the dignity you desire. The sooner your affairs are in order, the better because, as they say, “You never know.”
Estate Planning: The Price of Organization, Rewards, Gifts, and Wondrous Tax Things…
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