Americans spend their whole lives working hard, saving money, and raising their families. Unfortunately, none of us know quite how much time we have left and those who do not get their affairs together risk losing everything and leaving their loved ones with nothing. Elder law attorneys specialize in helping senior citizens get their affairs in order and ensure that their wishes are honored.
Drafting a Will
Surveys found that 64% of the American public don’t have a will; even more surprising is the fact that nearly half of Americans between the age of 55 and 64 don’t even have a will. Due to technical loopholes, it is advised that legal services be employed to ensure that a will is sound; in order for a will to be verified it generally must be signed by two witnesses who will not inherit anything in the will and notarized in some states.
Why Would You Need a Power of Attorney?
Although living wills typically exist to reflect an individual’s wishes in the case of an emergency (including resuscitation, end of life treatments, and treatments one does not wish to receive), a power of attorney can help ensure that those wishes are honored while continuing to make decisions on the individual’s behalf in emergency situations. Choosing a power of attorney is a serious matter and the individual should be trustworthy as the MetLife Mature Market Institute have found that financial exploitation and abuse has cost seniors $2.6 billion in 2009.
Real estate lawyers can help clients with high-value assets establish a trust in addition to a will to help minimize the taxation of the estate and help avoid probate. As of last year, individuals can leave gifts to individuals upon death that can value up to $5.43 million free from federal estate taxes: this is known as the estate-tax exemption and that figure rises to $10.86 million for married couples. With careful planning, we can all leave a legacy for our loved ones; legal services can help make sure that our wishes are followed to the letter.