Your loved ones are dependent on you in so many ways. They expect you to have an estate plan in place so they don’t have to fight over your assets and properties after your death. The truth is we don’t want to think of death, but estate planning covers much more than that. With appropriate legal advice, you can plan for a lot of situations and contingencies. You need an attorney who specializes in the field and will offer insights into your unique financial situation based on your goals, age, and other factors. In this post, let’s discuss the critical components of an estate plan.
- Last will and testament: Often called the “Will”, this document allows you to decide who inherits your assets after your death. You also get to choose an executor who will ensure that the “Will” is honored after you are gone. The will is also an essential document for naming a guardian for a minor child. There are dos and don’ts for creating a will, which an attorney can help with.
- A living will: If you want to provide instructions for a time when you are unable to make decisions on your own because of health or age-related concerns, you can have a living will. It will include end-of-life care instructions. A “living will” is also called an advanced directive. For instance, you may state that you don’t want to be put on life support when in a particular condition.
- Trusts: Unlike a will, a trust comes into effect as soon as you create it. You can transfer your assets, including properties, into a trust and choose the trustees to manage it. Wills have to go through probate, which is not the case with trusts, and therefore, for many people with significant assets, this could be an essential tool. Your estate planning lawyer will guide you on the different trusts and choose the best one for your needs.
- Power of attorney: A Power of attorney allows you to choose someone who gets the authorization to make decisions for you in circumstances like incapacitation. You can have a financial or health power of attorney for different needs or both.
Each document listed above must be created with the utmost care, and without an attorney, you might have difficulty making decisions. Call a lawyer now to start the process, and remember you can always change or recreate your estate plan for evolving situations.