Estate planning is easy, it’s just planning for where your stuff goes when you go (that said most estate plans fail). But what happens if you don’t pass away and you continue to age and face all the issues that go along with aging, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, or just the frailties of aging. The unfortunate truth of the matter, most Michigan estate planning attorneys are ill equipped to help your family deal with issues of aging, long-term care an asset protection. It’s so bad, that we’ve coined the term LifeCare Planning for what we do. It’s planning for your life and should be included as part of your estate plan.
Estate Planning Shouldn’t Just Be About Dying
Too often, Michigan estate planning lawyers are focusing only on what happens when you die. Completely ignoring issues with regards to aging, disability or asset protection. A big area of concern here is that there are missed opportunities at best or borderline malpractice at worst.
Let me explain.
With many of the estate plans that I review from lawyers across Michigan, they are preparing just a basic revocable living trust that, hopefully, avoids probate upon death. The missed opportunities here lie in the type of trust and how the trust is set up. What if instead of just protection against probate, we could also protect against long-term care costs and lawsuits? We can do that. In fact we can do that in a way that you won’t be giving up much control. An asset protection trust that allows you to maintain control….sound too good to be true? It’s not. We do it all the time.
The Same Estate Plan For Everyone?
Taking it a step further, I’ve reviewed estate plans from local estate planning attorneys that look absolutely no different whether it’s a health 35 year old with a young family or a 85 year old widow diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Where this really comes into play is in the financial power of attorney document and what powers or limitations are built into the document. Not all documents are created equal, not all lawyers have equal knowledge.
Ignoring the long-term care aspect that most families face and focusing only on where stuff goes upon your death is one of the biggest mistakes I see estate planning lawyers and their families make….don’t make it yourself!
What is in Your Personal Care Plan?
As an estate planning law firm that focuses on LifeCare Planning, one of the key ingredients of any comprehensive estate plan is a Personal Care Plan. A personal care plan is a document that expresses your wishes with regards to not just who will take care your health and finances like powers of attorney, but how they will care for you. Basically what to do with you and your money if you become incapacitated.
For example, in many personal care plans we do for our clients they will express that they want to be kept at home as long as possible, or certain foods to avoid, or television shows that you like. You might be thinking well, if I am incapacitated, why does it matter because I won’t know what’s going on anyways….but not every form of incapacity effects you mind. Some keep you mind fully intact, but it’s your body that fails, for example Huntington’s Disease.
The Next Step…
If you would like to ensure that your current estate plan will not fail you, join us for one of our FREE LifeCare Planning Workshops that are different than your typical estate planning seminar. It’s promised that time will fly, you’ll learn a lot, and have a little bit of fun. To sign up for a LifeCare Planning Workshop click here.