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Estate Planning Basics for Seniors

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Consider it planning for the ultimate gift that you can leave your loved ones. A little organization and planning on your part will spare them not only stress but also legal and financial hassles. Instead of wasting time untangling your financial disarray, they will be able to easily execute your wishes. 

Don’t let the word “estate” throw you. You don’t have to be Lord of the Manor to benefit from an estate plan that clearly and specifically addresses the dispersal of your assets, whatever they may be. Keep in mind, when it comes to estate planning, one size does not fit all. Whether you are focused on tax savings or setting up a fund to care for a special-needs family member, your professional estate planner will create a plan that is unique to your finances, possessions and goals. 

That said there are a few essential basics of estate planning that apply across the board. For example, there are several documents your estate planner will most likely encourage you to include.  

  • Will

Where there’s a will, there’s a way to specify exactly how your assets will be managed and distributed. This document will indicate your choice of executor, that is, the person who will be legally in charge of the estate. Without a will, your possessions will be dealt with according to the laws of your state. 

  • Financial/ Property Power of Attorney 

A key piece of elderly estate planning is the financial and property power of attorney. This document designates a trusted person to make financial or property decisions in the event you become incapacitated and unable to handle affairs on your own. This person will be responsible for overseeing bank accounts and investments and have access to personal property like safe deposit boxes. 

  • Medical Power of Attorney

In the event your mental state makes it impossible for you to rationally interact with doctors, the medical power of attorney allows an appointed friend or family member to step in and make medical decisions on your behalf. This may seem unnecessary today. But we never know what tomorrow may bring and it’s important to have a system in place if dementia or Alzheimer’s or any other mentally debilitating disease becomes an issue down the road.

Put an estate plan in place today and be secure in the knowledge that you and your family are prepared for the future. Once your documents are signed, sealed and delivered, stick them in a drawer and get on with the business of enjoying your active adulthood to the fullest! At Overture, we know that preparing for future milestones is important. That’s why we offer seminars and speakers on things like estate planning as one of our intellectual experiences for our residents!