Estate Planning: A Plan for Everyone
A common misconception is that estate planning is for the wealthy, with an abundance of assets, including retirement plans, life insurance and annuities. However, the truth is that everyone over the age of 18, regardless of wealth, socioeconomic class or marital status should have a basic estate plan designed for their specific and unique situation, to ensure their wishes are known and followed, to avoid disputes, to ease the administrative and financial burden on their family and friends, and to minimize the probate process and its expenses and delays.
A basic estate plan includes:
- A durable power of attorney, appointing an agent to make the decisions you authorize regarding your taxes, finances, property, insurance, debts and/or assets during your lifetime. A durable power of attorney may be effective immediately, or only upon your later incapacity.
- A medical power of attorney, appointing an agent to make your medical decisions. A medical power of attorney is effective only upon your later incapacity.
- A directive to physicians, letting your family and medical providers know of your wishes for continued care in the event you were to have a terminal or irrevocable condition.
- A last will and testament, to name the people entitled to receive your assets, and to appoint an executor to administer your estate. A will is not effective until after you are deceased.
- If you have minor children, you should also consider a declaration of guardian, appointing guardians for your children in the event both parents are unable to care for their children.
Of course, there are more complex plans to be considered for those whose circumstances require additional planning, but a basic plan is advisable for every individual. Contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to discuss the best options for you and your family. The Strong Firm P.C. is available to consult with you today!
By: Carissa Peterson