After you are gone, your loved ones will miss you deeply. They will long for your words of encouragement and concern. Hearing your voice again is a tremendous gift. At Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory, we guide you to leave a legacy that includes much more than just your money.
Through our unique legacy process, you can give your loved ones a most precious gift - a lasting expression of your love. Is there anything more priceless?
We believe estate planning is not just about transferring your financial assets and personal belongings, it's also about capturing and transferring your valuable intangible gifts: who you are and what's important to you - your values, insights, stories and experiences.
"It's too often I hear from colleagues how so few people ever leave their loved ones some lasting legacy of themselves. They even tell their clients to record a message and put it in a safe place or simply write notes to their children letting them know how they felt about them. But we all get caught up with our day-to-day that focusing in on leaving a legacy falls behind."
At Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory, preparing a Family Legacy is part of how we help you capture and pass on more than just your money: your intellectual, spiritual and human assets - who you are and what's important to you.
"I love hearing from many how the thoughts, feelings, memories, and advice they share - especially parents - is the real gift that they give to their families. It's the point of pride that I take in my practice to be able to help clients create their true, lasting legacy. That is so much more important than the paper documents in their binder. "
For more information about creating a Family Legacy, please contact us at (650) 761-0992, today.
These are just a few reasons why it is important for you to know the following about estate planning:
Minor children can be legally protected with a Kids Protection Plan, which provides parents with important legal tools to name short- and long-term guardians, provide instructions and guidelines for those guardians and execute medical powers of attorney that allow you to dictate medical care for your minor children in case they are injured and you are not with them.
A will and a living trust are both essential estate planning tools, and although both can be used to transfer assets upon death, they serve separate purposes. A living trust can take effect while you are alive or after death. It allows you to hold assets for your benefit during your life, which may prove useful if you become incapacitated in the future. A living will can also be beneficial if you own real estate in another state. A will only takes effect upon death, and is used to appoint guardians for minor children, cover assets that are not part of a living trust and create trusts that kick in after death.
Women need to execute financial and healthcare durable powers of attorney and consider choosing a member of the family if that person is willing to assume the responsibility of making financial and/or medical decisions on your behalf in case of incapacity. And, if you are married or partnered, make sure your spouse or partner does the same because you’ll be the one who is handling things if anything happens to your spouse/partner and you want it to be as easy as possible.
Last week, we shared the first part of our series on the importance of estate planning for those without children. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here. Here in part two, we discuss the other risks involved for those who forego estate planning.
Someone will have power over your health care
Estate planning isn’t just about passing on your assets when you die. In fact, some of the most critical parts of planning have nothing to do with your money at all, but are aimed at protecting you while you’re still very much alive.
Advance planning allows you to name the person you want to make healthcare decisions for you if you’re incapacitated and unable to make decisions yourself.
For example, if you’re temporarily unconscious following a car accident and unable to give doctors permission to perform a potentially risky medical treatment, it’s not always clear who’ll be asked to make that decision for you.
If you have a romantic partner but aren’t married and haven’t granted them medical power of attorney, the court will likely have a family member, not your partner, make that decision. Depending on your family, that person may make decisions contrary to what you or your partner would want.
Indeed, if you don’t want your estranged brother to inherit your property, you probably don’t want him to have the power to make life-and-death decisions about your medical care, either. But that’s exactly what could happen if you don’t proactively plan.
But the fact is, it can be even MORE important to do estate planning if you have no children.
Some of the common thoughts behind this mistaken belief may take one of these forms:
“If I die, everything will pass to my spouse anyway, so why bother?”
“I’m single with little wealth, so who cares who gets my few meager assets?”
“Estate planning is an expensive hassle and it doesn’t even benefit me because I’ll be dead, so I’m better off letting a judge handle things.”
This kind of thinking ignores several basic facts about both estate planning and life in general. Regardless of your marital status, if you don’t have children, you face potential estate-planning complications that those with children do not. And this is true whether you’re wealthy or have very limited assets.
Without proper estate planning, you’re not only jeopardizing your personal property, but you’re putting your life at risk, too. And that’s not even mentioning the potential conflict and expense you’re leaving for your surviving family and friends to deal with. So if you’re childless, consider these three inconvenient truths before you decide to forego estate planning.
However, estate planning can be even more critical for those in committed relationships who are unmarried.
In the first part of this series, we discussed the estate planning tools all unmarried couples should have in place. Here, we’ll look at the final two must-have planning tools.
Because your relationship with one another is frequently not legally recognized, if one of you becomes incapacitated or when one of you dies, not having any planning can have disastrous consequences. Your age, income level, and marital status makes no difference—every adult needs to have some fundamental planning strategies in place if you want to keep the people you love out of court and out of conflict.
Last week, we discussed wills, trusts, and durable power of attorney. Here, we’ll look at two more must-have estate planning tools, both of which are designed to protect your choices about the type of medical treatment you’d want if tragedy should strike.
3. Medical power of attorney
In addition to naming someone to manage your finances in the event of your incapacity, you also need to name someone who can make health-care decisions for you. If you want your partner to have
any say in how your health care is handled during your incapacity, you should grant your partner medical power of attorney.
But the reality is every adult, regardless of age, income level, or marital status needs to have some fundamental planning strategies in place if you want to keep the people you love out of court and out of conflict.
In fact, estate planning can be even more critical for unmarried couples. Regardless if you’ve been together for decades and act just like a married couple, you likely aren’t viewed as one in the eyes of the law. And in the event one of you becomes incapacitated or when one of you dies, not having any planning in place can have disastrous consequences.
If you’re in a committed relationship and have yet to get—or even have no plans to get—married, the following estate planning documents are an absolute must:
1. Wills and trusts
If you’re unmarried and die without planning, the assets you leave behind will be distributed according to your state’s intestate laws to your family members: parents, siblings, and possibly even other, more distant relatives if you have no living parents or siblings. The state’s laws would provide NO protection for your unmarried partner. Given this, if you want your partner to receive any of your assets upon your death, you need to—at the very least—create a will.
A will details how you want your assets distributed after you die, and you can name your unmarried partner, or even a friend, to inherit some or all of your assets. However, certain assets like life insurance, pensions, and 401(k)s, are not transferred through a will. Instead, those assets will go to the person named in the beneficiary designation, so be sure to name your partner as beneficiary if you’d like him or her to inherit those assets.
However, there could be an even better way.