It’s time to sit down and create an Estate Plan. You’ve heard that you need one, but you’ve never looked into the process. What does it involve? Who does it involve?
It can be a difficult topic to discuss. After all, you’re discussing what will happen after you die. But it will be much easier on your loved ones if you take care of creating an Estate Plan sooner than later.
The first step is to consult with an attorney that can explain and guide you through the important steps. This is important because skipping a part of the process could create chaos for the ones you leave behind.
Here are the important parts of an Estate Plan your attorney will explain to you:
Last Will and Testament:
A Last Will and Testament ensures that your designated beneficiaries receive their share of your estate in accordance with your wishes through a properly prepared Last Will and Testament. This could include family members, friends or charities. If you do not have a Last Will and Testament, the state will determine who receives your assets (And guess what? Your spouse is 4th in line!).
Durable Power Of Attorney:
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you name an individual or entity to act as your agent and attorney in fact on your behalf should you be unable to do so in the future. This will ensure your business affairs and medical affairs will be taken care of when you become incapable. This is a document that will carry on until your death.
A Living Will is a legal document in which you have the opportunity to state your wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration if or when you no longer have decisional capacity, have a terminal condition, and become permanently unconscious with no hope of recovery as determined by your attending physician and one other physician.
A Trust requires four basic elements: trustee, trust property, trust document, and beneficiaries which are known or can be identified. A Trust contains the directions regarding management of the Trust assets, how the assets are to be distributed from the Trust, and instructions of what happens to the Trust when the person who creates it becomes incompetent or dies.
Once you and your attorney sit down together and begin to go through these steps, you’ll understand the importance of taking care of this now, so that your loved ones are taken care of later.
Taking care of your Estate Plan allows you the opportunity to choose the individuals who will take care of you and your estate. It will also ensure a smoother transition than if you have no Estate Plan. By having an Estate Plan in place you can then focus on other parts of your life such as your family, hobbies or other interests. An Estate Plan should be reviewed every 2 to 3 years or if you have a major life event such as a birth, death, marriage, or divorce.
You are never too old, you are never too young, but you can be too late in making your estate plan. Do not let that happen to you. Make sure you have an Estate Plan in place today.