As the New Year looms, many folks include among their resolutions creating or updating their estate plans.
What is often not appreciated are the number of issues that should be considered and addressed in one’s estate plan. It’s important to take time to handle these issues so that you’re protected throughout your lifetime as well as after you die. Many people don’t take the time to fully think about their individual estate planning needs. Take a look at the information below to better understand your own planning needs. If you have any questions about the estate planning process, meet with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.
- Have you taken the time to name a guardian for your children? If you have minor children, you want to make sure that they’re always protected. With the use of a will, you’re able to appoint a guardian for the care of your minor children. If you have children and are just beginning to plan your estate, a will is a must. If you don’t handle this important estate planning need, your children may be cared for a guardian who is not your choice.
- Have you considered incapacity planning? You never know when you may become incapacitated or, otherwise, disabled. It’s important to have a plan in place so that your medical wishes are respected and you receive proper treatment. With the use of an advance health care directive, you can outline your end of life medical wishes regarding the use of certain treatment options. In your directive, you can also appoint an agent who will be responsible for helping to make important medical decisions on your behalf, if you’re ever unable to make these decisions yourself.
- Have you considered your financial planning needs in case of incapacity? If you become incapacitated, you won’t be able to make your own financial decisions. With the use of a financial power of attorney, you can appoint an agent who will be responsible for handling your financial obligations during your time of need. This will ensure that all of your financial affairs are in order.
- Will your estate plan be comprehensive enough? A well constructed comprehensive estate plan can accomplish these goals and properly incorporate the above documents. For many persons, the addition of a revocable living trust to their plans will help them avoid unnecessary court proceedings in the event of disability or death and to incorporate tax-saving provisions.
If you have any questions about the above estate planning needs, or if you’d like to start your estate planning, consult with a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney.