Are you Letting the State Manage your Money (and Body)?

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VA State Capital - dreamstime_m_46204991While you may not think so, it is likely that you are depending upon the state for the management your personal finances.  Hipps Financial Partners, LLC sees this almost daily. How can this be, you ask?

Studies reveal that most adults in the U.S. do not have an estate plan including either a will or living trust, power of attorney documents, and an advance medical directive. Reasons we hear for not having these tools in place range from “I don’t have time” to “it is too expensive” or “I don’t have enough money to worry about.”  All these answers really mean that you are relying upon state law to govern what happens with your money and your body when life changes occur.  It also means you are placing many burdens upon your loved ones that could have been avoided or minimized with appropriate planning.

If you die without a will or living trust, state laws govern how and when your assets will be available to the loved ones you leave behind and how much of your estate each beneficiary will receive.  Your charitable wishes will not be implemented. The courts will have ultimate control of who will manage your estate as administrator.  You and your family may not be happy with the results.

Health emergencies often result in a complete loss or diminishment of the ability of individuals to make financial or health care decisions for themselves.  Sometimes, these health emergencies result in lifelong diminishment of these abilities. Without pre-established power of attorney documents and advance medical directives, you and your loved ones will be at the mercy of state laws governing how your affairs must be handled. Your loved ones may need to incur the avoidable costs and emotional trauma of going to court to ask approval to care for your affairs.  It is also possible that a complete stranger could be appointed by the court to oversee care of your body and your finances, especially in the absence of close family members.  Not the outcome most of us want!

Hipps Financial Partners, LLC encourages its clients to seek the legal counsel of attorneys who specializein estate planning issues.  In accordance with our clients’ wishes, we are happy to work with our clients, their estate planning documents, and our clients’ other professional advisors to assure the best possible outcomes for our customers and their families. Getting the proper plan and documents in place today is key.