During these uncertain times, nothing can give you peace of mind quite like finalizing your estate and preparing the documents necessary to empower your loved ones to take care of your affairs should you become seriously ill.
Estate planning is the act of sitting down with an attorney and deciding how to allocate your assets and responsibilities in the event of death or incapacitation. An estate plan is a set of legal documents that direct who can make decisions on your behalf, as well as who has control over your possessions. By creating an estate plan and/or a will or trust you can be sure that your assets are protected in the event of an emergency.
You don’t know when you will need it
Life is unpredictable, so the odds are that you won’t know when you are going to fall ill or emergency strikes. That is why you should finalize your estate and will before you really need it. Take some time and write out clear directives for your assets and belongings. Make sure to inform your family and next of kin that your estate is taken care of, where to find the necessary documents, and of any directives that involve them specifically. It is best to have this taken care of long before you need it so you and your attorney can make revisions as needed.
Relieve your family
Alleviate your family of trying to guess how best to divide your assets and honor your memory. You can do this by creating a trust or a will.
You should also have a Power of Attorney stating your wishes regarding medical treatment when you are no longer able to express informed consent and appointing someone to make medical decisions for you. Most people are familiar with a ‘Do No Resuscitate’ order which can be included in a living will. Creating a power of attorney is the easiest way to spell out your final wishes so the burden does not fall entirely on family members or close friends.
By establishing your directives in a legal document, you allow your family to grieve without worrying over the logistics of your assets or your medical preferences.
Make your intentions clear
In the event of death or incapacitation, grieving loved ones may not remember the conversation you had years ago about whether you prefer a classic burial or cremation. Did you want to leave all your assets to family or give a large chunk to charity? Finalizing your estate will establish who can make decisions on your behalf and who is in control of your assets.
It is wise to reevaluate your estate plan after significant life events. For example, in the event of marriage or divorce, or, if it was written when your children were babies and now they are grown. It is important to tailor these documents to your circumstances and keep them up to date. Be sure to include directives on what to do with anything and everything you own. Once you have prepared these documents your objectives will be legally binding and protected under the law. But, you can always change them as your life circumstances change.
Getting professional help with your estate planning can be tricky. However, it is the best way to ensure that your family is taken care of in the event that you pass away or are incapacitated. If you are unsure where to start or need help constructing a trust or a will or power of attorney, contact Evans Kingsbury LLP today. We can help you get the right resources to ensure you have the help you need when you need it.