Believe it or not, you have an estate. In fact, nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you die.
Individuals put off estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re busy, think they have plenty of time, they’re confused and don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think it. Then, when something happens to them, their families have to pick up the pieces.
There are three documents that you should consider regardless of your age, health and wealth:
Durable power of attorney (DPOA)
Authorizes someone to act on your behalf should you become physically or mentally incompetent to handle financial matters. The person you designate in the DPOA can pay bills, file taxes, direct investments, etc. on your behalf.
Advanced Medical Directives
Allows you to specify the medical treatments you desire in the event you can’t express your wishes and appoint someone to make decisions for you. Without this document, medical care providers must prolong your life using artificial means, if necessary. The three types of advanced medical directives are a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care, and a Do Not Resuscitate order.
The crux of any estate plan, a will distributes your property as you wish after death. Without a will, disbursements are made according to state law, which might not align with your priorities. In addition, a will names an executor to manage and settle your estate as well as a legal guardian for any dependents. Since this is a legal document, it is crucial that your will be well written and articulated so that it is properly executed under your state’s laws.
None of us really likes to think about our own mortality or the possibility of being unable to make decisions for ourselves. This is exactly why so many families are caught off-guard and unprepared when incapacity or death does strike. Don’t wait. Contact us to start the process.