Planning early for elder law issues is key to an easy transition

It is no surprise that some people don't want to talk about estate planning. It's not a comfortable topic. Discussing your estate plan means you need to accept that you won't be around forever, and you need to address what you want to do with your assets, debts and liabilities.

In the case that you are disabled or pass away unexpectedly, it's a good idea to have your legal affairs addressed ahead of time. If you don't have a will or estate plan, your loved ones may have to go to court to fight for your assets and will have to work through your liabilities on their own. That's a complicated path to take, and it's not fair to the people you love.

Is a will enough?

A will isn't really enough for most people. If you only have assets in your name, a will dictates what you want to see happen with them once you pass away. A will doesn't always account for every aspect of your estate plan, so it's a good idea to talk to your attorney about appointing a power of attorney or setting up a trust for your beneficiaries.

Trusts, in particular, aren't always thought about because people believe that they're only for the wealthy. The truth is that anyone can have a trust, and it's a good idea to have one, too. Some trusts, like irrevocable trusts, are designed to be hard to revoke. Others, revocable trusts, can be changed and updated as needed. Your attorney can help you decide which of these is the right option for you.

Source:, "Bonnie Kraham: Common misconceptions in elder law estate planning," Bonnie Kraham, Nov. 19, 2017

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