Estate planning is complex, often requiring customization and maintenance. However, that also often means that you can create a solution that serves your own unique needs.
In general, these plans and documents should provide direction, solace and support for your loved ones. Here are three of the main things you might consider when starting out.
1. Your estate
Your estate, generally speaking, is what you leave behind. A robust estate plan should help you give your survivors a clear idea of what you would like to happen. Your will provides a solid framework for your loved ones. It could also empower the court to enforce your wishes.
2. Your assets
Believe it or not, contemporary estate plans often deal with your assets during your life. For example, you might want to establish a trust to hold land, securities, charitable funds and so on. You might also want to disperse payments to your loved ones so they benefit from their inheritance while you are still alive.
3. Your health
Advance directives are a common element of estate plans — they could help you make decisions about medical care. The South Carolina Bar Association provides some online resources in terms of advance directive forms and information. However, you should know that you can probably add some level of customization to some of these instruments.
Additionally, there are situations in which typical advanced health care directives might not suit your unique needs. In these cases, you might have the option of other types of instruments, such as powers of attorney.
A comprehensive estate plan is usually not just about inheritance after your death. There are often tax considerations, investment risks and human factors that could complicate your decision. Starting out with organization, foresight and attention to detail should give you the best possible foundation for whatever happens next.