Everyone Has an Estate
Your estate includes anything you own — homes or other properties, bank accounts, automobiles and additional assets, and ownership of any licenses or patents. It also consists of any liabilities, such as mortgages. If something happens to you, it’s important to know who will manage or receive these assets and liabilities.
Estate planning is not solely focused on what happens after you die. An effective estate plan also provides for you during your life during periods of temporary or permanent incapacity by authorizing trusted individuals to make decisions on your behalf when necessary, assigns guardians for minor children and aging adults, and defines end-of-life treatment and funeral arrangements. It uses trusts to reduce the countable assets you own when attempting to qualify for Medicaid, disability, or veterans’ benefits.
Estate plans establish important guidelines that allow you to retain your independence and protect your assets in later years and in declining health. You have a say in the quality of your long-term care — whether at home or in an assisted living facility — and can qualify for government benefits to help pay for that care. Estate planning allows you to expertly navigate application processes to ensure qualification is as quick and efficient as possible.
You can also prepare for incapacitation due to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in your estate plan. You can protect yourself by making decisions about the future now, removing any potential caretaking or financial burdens from your family members later.
When moving a loved one to a facility, carefully vet the accommodations and staff. Should an incident occur, we can help you address nursing home abuse and neglect.
Parts of a Mississippi Estate Plan
A properly executed estate plan typically includes a last will and testament (will), living will, health care documents, and powers of attorney. Let’s take a look at each document and the purposes they serve:
Last Will and Testament
Allows a person to determine who inherits assets and appoints an executor to make sure wishes are carried out.
Setting up a trust can be beneficial for distributing specific assets or pieces of property. The benefit of a trust is that it does not go through probate as a will does, so the assets and terms of your trust won’t be made public.
Trusts allow you to set aside money for specific people or charities and enable heirs and beneficiaries to receive intended inheritances much more quickly. Trusts are often used to provide asset protection for long-term care services for people with declining health or special needs.
A living will allows a person to choose the type of care they want should they become hospitalized or incapable of making decisions independently. A living will would, for example, outline a person’s wishes about specific medical treatments, such as blood transfusions, or whether or not they wish to be resuscitated.
A healthcare power of attorney appoints someone — generally a spouse or family member — to make decisions about medical care and treatment on another person’s behalf.
Financial Power of Attorney
Appoints someone — also typically a spouse or family member — to make financial decisions on another person’s behalf. This includes accessing bank accounts to ensure bills and mortgages continue to get paid in the event of illness or incapacitation.
Each document is prepared to comply with Mississippi and federal law and to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Trust administration requires managing the assets, distributions, and filings of a trust. If you are the trustee of an estate, your role can be quite complex and time sensitive. The attorneys at Carby & Carby support you by providing information and advice during the trust administration process. If you are overwhelmed with the responsibility, our attorneys step into the role and complete the process quickly and efficiently. We follow the written terms of the trust, communicate with all parties involved, and document all financial transactions related to the estate.
If you or an aging parent has been avoiding the estate planning discussion, now is the time to begin. Being proactive increases options and makes the process far less stressful than trying to plan or make important decisions during a health crisis or after a death.
If you’re concerned about the cost of estate planning, Carby & Carby can tailor plans to your specific needs, making them more affordable. You also save time, money, and frustration when life and legal challenges strike. Contact our attorneys in Natchez, MS, today to learn more about getting started with an estate plan that is right for you.
We also work with other attorneys with clients who need assistance with estate planning.
Do you have questions about estate planning? We find the best way to protect you and your family from life’s challenges!