Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney & Health Care Planning
Estate planning is not just for older people or those with large estates. Illness and accidents can happen to anyone. A quality estate plan will prevent leaving loved ones, or the court, from picking up the pieces and having to guess as to your wishes for healthcare, asset management, or distribution of your hard-earned estate.
Nearly everyone has an estate, some are just greater than others. Your estate is made up of all that you own, including real estate, tangible and intangible assets, insurance policies, and investments. You’ve worked hard for your estate and it should work for you as you intend it to as you age, if you become incapacitated, and when you die, which while it may be uncomfortable to contemplate, is inevitable.
Quality estate planning is not just about a Will that instructs what you want your loved ones to receive, and when. Your estate plan should also include well thought out decisions regarding taxes, legal fees and court costs, instructions regarding your care and the management of your assets in the event you become incapacitated, provisions for family members with special needs and protection for irresponsible loved ones, instructions for the care of minor children, provisions for the care of your pets, and directives regarding digital assets such as social media accounts, virtual financial accounts, and online businesses.
Your estate plan will need to be revisited and updated from time to time as your needs and life circumstances, and that of your loved ones, change. It may start out very simple, but grow as your estate does. Initially you may want to start off with just a will, power of attorney, health care proxy, and HIPAA release. As you accumulate more wealth, it may be time to consider a trust, and as you age planning for long term care may become a greater concern. Your estate plan can evolve with you.
Estate planning can involve some uncomfortable contemplation, but the best time to plan for the inevitable is when you have the ability to do so without a sense of urgency. A well thought out estate plan can provide sense of security that if you are suddenly incapacitated you will be well cared for, and loved ones will be cared for when you’re no longer able to do so.