Just as your medical needs change at different stages of your life, your legal needs change as you grow older also. Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 to 1964, are discovering they have different estate planning needs and questions as they enter their senior years. Illinois Baby Boomers are often caring for elderly parents and may have children at home – especially adult children who moved back home during the pandemic. The unique estate planning needs of Baby Boomers are the specialty of elder law attorneys. An elder law attorney specializes in a broad range of legal issues that people are likely to encounter as they get older. An elder law attorney draws on their legal experience to help individuals plan for the future and address problems as they arise.
It’s important for Illinois Baby Boomers to create a thorough, detailed estate plan because your estate plan:
• provides for your family after you are gone
• ensures that your wishes are carried out
• speaks for you when you can no longer speak for yourself
Here are three estate planning tips for Baby Boomers that an elder law attorney can assist you with.
1. Create a Durable Power Of Attorney
A durable power of attorney lasts indefinitely. In most cases, a durable power of attorney (DPOA) is used to allow the designated person to handle affairs in a specific area of a person’s life, such as in financial or health matters if you become incapacitated.
Creating a durable power of attorney protects you and your family if you can no longer handle your health or financial problems. An experienced power of attorney lawyer can explain your options and the ramifications of each type of POA, and advise you of the right powers to fit your needs.
There are many permissions that are granted under a durable power of attorney. If you’re considering giving someone your DPOA, it is essential to choose someone you trust:
• Choose a person who you trust to follow your instructions.
• Choose someone who will follow all Illinois laws.
• Choose someone who will make decisions based on your beliefs and preferences, and not their own.
2. Determine If A Trust Agreement or a Last Will and Testament Provides the Best Protection
Your estate plan can include both a will and one or more trusts. For most people, having both a will and a trust is essential. A key difference between a will and a trust is when they go into effect:
• The terms of a will go into effect only once you have died. In your will, you appoint a representative to carry out your wishes and manage your estate after your death.
• A trust takes effect as soon as you create it. Depending on your wishes, your beneficiaries can receive your assets immediately, in the future, or after your death. The assets of a trust can continue to be given to your heirs for years, even generations.
3. Inform Your Loved Ones About Your Estate Plan
According to a survey by TD Wealth, the biggest threat to estate planning is family conflict. Communicate the contents of your estate plan and final wishes to your family. When a loved one dies, family conflict and stress are too often a result, primarily because the deceased did not let their family know their wishes in advance. Many people ask their elder law attorney for advice on communicating their estate plan to their attorney, or even ask their attorney to be present for a family meeting.
There is no minimum or maximum age to go to an elder law attorney but by age 60 probably have issues that an elder law attorney can assist you with. A lawyer who specializes in elder law isn’t just for senior citizens – an elder law attorney can help younger clients who need help with aging family members, such as social security, health care, retirement and estate planning.
If you’re over 60 and haven’t updated your estate plan or have questions about how to update your plan for the next stage of your life, you should consult an experienced elder law attorney who understands issues faced by aging adults. Estate planning is preparing for the future. Contact Estate & Probate Legal Group in Oak Brook Illinois today at 630-864-5835.