Wills and Probate
Without a valid will or sound estate plan, the laws of New Hampshire (for NH residents) will decide how your assets will be distributed after you pass, rather than you. Moreover, a good estate plan can also help you, your spouse and your loved ones during your lifetime. Those protections during your lifetime become increasingly important as many of us live into our later years and sometimes require assistance with our day-to-day household and financial activities.
While a simple Last Will and Testament is frequently adequate for many of our clients, we also recommend that our clients consider a Revocable Living Trust to assure confidentiality and assistance in their lifetime, frequently avoid the cost and delay of probate, assure that creditors and spouses of your children or beneficiaries are safeguarded against and that you and your spouse are provided competent and trusted assistance during later years.
For our clients that are concerned regarding the preservation of their home in the event of subsequent nursing home care later in life, there are Irrevocable Medicaid Trusts or “Medicaid Triggers” that may provide protection. These forms of protection are far superior to simply putting your child’s name on your bank accounts or home. If nursing home cost planning is important to you, consult with an attorney competent in that specialized field.
During your lifetime, the following documents are very helpful to you and your family:
- Power of Attorney for financial matters, to allow a trusted loved one to handle your financial affairs when you ask them to do so or when you may not be able to handle your affairs on your own. The failure to have this document may require a much more costly guardianship in the future.
- Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will will allow your spouse and loved ones to know of your intentions and assist with your health care decisions. The failure to have this document may also require a costly guardianship in the future.
- HIPPA medical records privacy release will allow your loved ones to communicate directly with your physicians. Increasingly, physicians and their staff resist providing any important information to loved ones due to federal and state privacy laws. A simple HIPPA authorization form signed as part of a good estate plan will allow your doctors and health care providers to speak with the individuals that you designate.
- Guardianship designation, in the event that a guardianship is ever required, may alleviate unnecessary family tension at a time when you need your family comfort and support so greatly.