Planning for the future is important, regardless of the size of your estate. Life can throw you curve balls, and with careful planning, you can face the future with confidence and security that your interests and those of your loved ones are protected. Estate planning is a wise decision for everyone, but is especially important for older individuals, those planning for retirement or those with children.
A detailed estate plan defines your objectives as thoroughly as possible so that your loved ones know what you want after your death, or if you are unable to express your wishes as you weaken.
A will helps protect your final wishes. This is most effective when witnesses are present when you sign. It also allows you to choose who you want as the “executor.” This person is legally responsible for final outstanding debts and tax payments and then distributing the rest of your assets to your choice of individuals.
If you become unable to make medical decisions yourself, a health care directive can protect your wishes. In some cases, a “living will” combines with a power of attorney for health care, called an advanced health care directive.
You’ll also want to assign a health care proxy. This is the person who will make choices about your medical care if you are unable to do so.
Letters of intent clarify your preferences for the guardians and trustees who will carry them out. This is your opportunity to make your expectations clear for your dependents.
Your estate plan should be custom-tailored to your individual objectives. Failing to have an estate plan could lead to financial and legal complications for your loved ones after you pass away. This plan will give you piece of mind as you get older, and provide clarity to family members, ensuring your wishes are carried out accordingly.