Learn how to properly protect your family’s financial future and your assets during a special Monday morning session.
“An Introduction to Estate Planning” will cover the basics including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and how to add predictability and to prevent disasters by planning ahead. Ronald G. Greening, founder of The Greening Law Firm, P.C., in Austin, will lead the 90-minute session that starts at 8 am in Room 12B.
“There are several basic ways of planning with either a will-based plan or a trust plan,” he said. “Trust-based plans generally avoid court processes. Will-based plans do not avoid court processes such as probate and guardianship.”
Greening said that almost 60 percent of adults in the United States do not take advantage of the favorable estate planning laws available in every state. However, taking advantage of the laws requires having formal documentation. That’s why consulting with lawyers who specialize in estate planning is critical.
“It’s not a do-it-yourself project because logic doesn’t always follow in state laws when it comes to estate planning,” he said. “Going on the Internet and getting an estate plan would be like going on the Internet and ordering a scalpel to operate on your big toe, and then ordering some medications to go with it.”
Like so many others, too many physicians procrastinate when it comes to estate planning, Greening said. And most people have misconceptions about what happens to their assets when they die, such as the mistaken belief that their spouses will inherit everything, even if there’s no plan, or that a will is all that’s needed.
While he recommends getting estate planning done early in life, the planning can be done at any point to minimize taxes and protect families from unnecessary expense and delays related to probate and guardianship. And with people living longer and requiring longer and more involved health care as they age, planning gives individuals more control over their care and financial decisions while they’re still alive in ways that a durable power of attorney cannot.
Many physicians feel vulnerable to liability from medical malpractice lawsuits, so Monday morning’s session will also include a discussion about asset protection techniques.