An Extraordinary Expression of Love

In his book The 5 Love Languages, The Secret To Love That Lasts, Gary Chapman states that each of us has a primary love language and defines 5 expressions, or languages, of love: affirmation, gifts, quality time, acts of service and touch. Written primarily for marriages, these love languages can be applied to all relationships in our life.

On Valentine’s Day, many of us engage in the love language of giving gifts as a gesture to show the important people in our life just how much they mean to us. This year, consider giving an extraordinary, meaningful, and lasting gift to your loved ones, one that will far outlast candy and flowers. A gift that is an ultimate expression of love. The gift . . . of an estate plan.

Why should you have an estate plan?

An estate plan can provide significant peace of mind by ensuring that your money and property are protected, and plans are in place for the day when it’s needed; that your accounts and property pass down according to your wishes. Did you know that the biggest fights in families aren’t about money, stocks or real estate? They are about the little things that hold memories. Your family can be torn apart over something as seemingly minor as “Who gets Grandma’s jewelry or Grandpa’s tools!”

What key elements of an estate plan should you consider?

  • If you do not have a Last Will and Testament or a Trust, state law will determine who will inherit your property—and it may not occur in the way you would have chosen. In addition, someone appointed by the court, instead of a trusted person of your choosing, will oversee caring for any children or pets and winding up your affairs. Spelling out your wishes in a will or trust will also prevent unnecessary confusion, anxiety, and expense for your loved ones.
  • A Financial Power of Attorney designates an individual to make financial and property decisions (e.g., opening a bank account, signing a deed, getting your mail, etc.) should you become unable to handle your own affairs. An Advance Directive designates a person you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are otherwise unable to speak for yourself.
  • Ensure that you have a Living Will, which memorializes your wishes concerning your end-of-life care, such as whether you want to receive life support.
  • You should also have HIPAA Authorizations in place with medical professionals to ensure that your loved ones can obtain needed information.
  • Pass your personal belongings according to your wishes with Memorandums for Distribution of Personal Property.

Additionally, there are a number of special trusts that can be established for the ones you love:

PROTECTIVE TRUST - helps make sure that the monies left to your child will stay with your child, and not be passed on to the daughter-in-law or son-in-law.

EDUCATION TRUST - set aside money for your grandchildren’s future.

SPRAY TRUST - if you want your children to receive their money over a period of years.

MEDICAID TRUST - if you would like to protect your home or other assets from being caught in a spend-down.

FARM TRUST – helps keep the farm in the family.

MINOR’S TRUST - make gifts to young children or grandchildren.

SPEND-THRIFT TRUST – protects a child who is not a good manager of money.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST – provides for a disabled child who is receiving Medicaid or SSDI benefits so the child will NOT lose their governmental benefits.

As you can see, the gift of an estate plan is an expression of great significance. One that will bless your loved ones beyond the traditional Valentine’s Day gift. To learn more about the benefits and protections of an estate plan attend one of our Estate Planning/Medicaid Planning seminars in Valparaiso, Granger or Lafayette. Reservations are required; seating is limited! Call now to make a reservation: (800) 303-7423 or visit our website at Northwest Indiana Estate Planning Workshops | Rice & Rice (

Wishing you an extraordinary Valentine’s Day!

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