Estate Planning is a very sensitive topic that most families avoid discussing until it is almost too late. This subject is critical if you have any intentions on leaving your assets to your loved ones. Having an established estate plan ensures a smooth distribution of your assets and eliminates confusion among benefactors
There are four primary elements of an estate plan include a will or living will, a healthcare power of attorney, a financial power of attorney, and a trust.
Last Will and Testament
If you do not have a will then your assets go to probate and the state in which you reside distribute your assets based on the state’s law. A will identifies who receives your assets upon passing. It is important to discuss the objectives of your will with your heirs to reduce confusion. It is also imperative if you have significant life changes like a divorce, guardianship issues, or a change in assets to change the contents of the will in a timely matter.
Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will
An (HPOA) healthcare power of attorney is a signed legal document naming a trusted individual to make decisions on behalf of you if you can’t make decisions for yourself in a health-related emergency like incapacitation or terminal illness. The living will or advanced medical directive outlines your choices regarding life support and medical interventions. These documents should accompany the last will and testament.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney defines who you prefer to make financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. This document allows the designee to handle your financial affairs like paying your bills or handling your investment matters. This document should also accompany your will.
A trust is a legal entity that can own your assets (while living or dead) controlled based on your stipulations and determinations. There are several advantages to having a trust as you ultimately will still control the management of your assets well after your death ensuring the proper usage in consideration of applicable circumstances. Trusts can be set up at any time of your life and should be updated regularly to account for additional assets and beneficiary requirements.
Estate Planning Is Essential Business
There are many other elements that encompass an estate plan and these are just 4 basic but essential components. If your estate planning is not in order, now would be the time to start taking this subject seriously. I am of service to help you with financial planning or wealth management decisions and look forward to speaking to you regarding your unique requirements. Set an appointment at JeffreyLevine.Solutions today for your free 20-minute consultation.