A comprehensive estate plan protects assets and loved ones.
A lot of people really like to have control.
It helps them to feel more secure.
That likely includes you, yes?
Although you cannot always control what happens to you, you can prepare for what is outside of your control.
According to a recent KRDO article titled “An estate plan is the best way to plan for the worst. Here’s how to create one,” estate planning is an essential to accomplishing this goal.
An estate plan utilizes several legal documents to provide instructions for both possible incapacity and eventual death.
What documents can be included in an estate plan?
With a last will and testament, you put your directions for handling your estate into print.
This includes nominating who you want to “execute” your estate through the probate process (i.e., the executor) through who you would like to inherit your assets subject to probate.
If you have minor children, you will be able to nominate a guardian who has similar values to rear your children.
Without a valid last will, your property and your children will be subject to the laws of the state.
States have their own rules regarding the validity of a last will and testament.
As such, you should work with an experienced estate planning attorney in your state of residence.
Power of attorney.
You should have both financial and health care powers of attorney as a part of your estate plan to protect yourself and your assets if you become incapacitated.
A financial general durable power of attorney allows you to designate a person to handle your finances if you are unable to do so yourself.
Similarly, the durable power of attorney for health care decisions allows you to designate an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf
Either way, remember to designate backup decision-makers in case the primary is unable or unwilling to serve when needed.
A trust is a legal entity in a estate plan used to hold title to assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.
Sometimes parents use trusts to administer an inheritance for their children rather than providing the inheritance directly to their chidren.
After all, some children grow up, while others just continue to have more birthdays.
Because life brings many changes, you should review your plan every few years and update your estate plan after key events.
These events include going to college, changing careers, getting married, moving states, or having a baby.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to get your affairs in order today.
Reference: KRDO (Sep. 16, 2022) “An estate plan is the best way to plan for the worst. Here’s how to create one”