If you are a widower with multiple children, and you are getting up there in years, then it is important to take care of your estate. You don't want to leave a headache for your children (massive paperwork and legal battles) to complicate their grief over your passing. While some people believe that their children will inherit everything and a will is not needed, it's best to get everything in writing. You don't want to deal with relatives that come out of the woodwork (some 3rd cousin you haven't seen in years) to make a claim on your property. A properly drawn up will is going to give you peace of mind. Also, there are some special considerations when it comes to estate planning and growing old, specifically how the law looks at your property if you do end up in a nursing home. So here are three things to consider.
Consult With An Estate Planner About Your Property
The first thing you should do is meet with an estate planner to do an inventory of your assets. Your estate will include your real estate, as well as any securities, bonds, and bank accounts (not including automobiles and countless smaller items). You should also discuss with the estate planner any current debts. If you die, you want these debts to be settled, so the estate attorney can draw up a provision that will take funds from your estate and square away any outstanding debts before money is disbursed to beneficiaries.
Designate An Executor For Your Will
Part of the process of drawing up a will is choosing someone to be an executor. You can choose one of your children, or you could choose the lawyer to act as the executor. The role is not very complicated, so it does not require that the person understand esoteric legal concepts. It does require time (the lawyer will be paid) so you should ask your children who has the time to act as executor. Most of it is meeting with lawyers and signing papers.
Speak With A Trust Lawyer About Setting Up An Irrevocable Living Trust
One item you might want to consider is an irrevocable living trust. These are created in order to avoid having your financial assets drained away should you have to go into a nursing home or extended care. The trust will place your home and assets into the legal name of your children, so that, should you have to enter long-term care, the hospitals won't take your life savings. There is a time sensitive factor (often called the Medicaid look-back period) so it should be done as soon as possible. You might feel perfectly healthy now, but in several years you might begin to feel worse and you want that trust to have been created so that your kids don't lose their inheritance.
To learn more, contact a firm like Thomason & Hessmer.