Planning for death or incapacitation is something everybody needs to do.
The fact of the matter is that if you don’t have a plan in place, you’ll leave your loved ones with the task of trying to pick up the pieces.
Unfortunately, many people think that when it comes to estate planning, all you need to do is write out a will and buy some life insurance. But, there’s much more you may need to think about when figuring out your plan.
Here are five must-know estate planning tips you need to consider when putting together your final plan.
1. Start Your Estate Planning Right Now
As much as we like to pretend we know what’s going to happen tomorrow, there’s no way of being sure. You can expect the unexpected — but you can prepare for it. Someday your family will need to know how you want(ed) your estate managed. Don’t leave them without direction or support.
The best way to ready your loved ones for a worst-case scenario is by starting the estate planning discussion with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible.
By taking the steps to put a plan in place now, your family and loved ones won’t have to worry as much about putting your affairs in order when something happen to you.
2. Create a Living Will
When we think of estate planning, often we think about planning for death. But, there are many of situations where you could be unable to make decisions while still being alive.
A coma, persistent vegitative state, paralysis, mental health challenge, or some other unforseen issue could conceivably render you incapacitated while still living.
A living will, or advance directive is a plan you put in place to cover other situations in which you’re unable to make decisions by yourself.
Having an advance directive in place will help your loved ones, or healthcare professionals, make decisions if you cannot.
3. Plan for Guardianship
If you have children or are the legal guardian of an adult, part of your estate planning should also reflect an adequate plan for their needs.
Sorting out guardianship can be a long and messy process, that can put a lot of stress on those involved. You can avoid putting your loved ones through undue misery by having a plan for who will assume responsibilty for your children, what steps they will need to become guardians, and all the information they will need to raise and support your loved ones in your place.
4. Share Login Info
We live in a digital world in which our passwords are everything.
In the event of your death, your loved ones may need to access some of your accounts to either pay bills, find information, or retrieve family photos.
As part of your estate planning, you need to figure out what will happen to your digital assets — including your passwords.
5. Decide Power of Attorney
As we said before, in the event of your incapacitation, someone is going to have to make your decisions for you. Power of attorney is a way dictating who will make those decisions.
There are two primary versions of the power of attorney you need to consider during your estate planning.
First, there is the financial power of attorney. Whoever you grant this power to will be responsible for making your financial decisions if you are physically or mentally unfit to do so.
The medical power of attorney is similar. The person you grant this power to will make your medical decisions for you if you are unable to.
Must-Have Estate Planning Tips
Nobody wakes up thinking about estate planning (except maybe us)! To think about planning for your estate is pondering your own mortality. But, it is necessary, responsible, and even kind. You owe it to your loved ones to put a plan together ahead of time, so they won’t have to worry should the need for it arise.
By following these estate planning tips, you’ll be able to put together a concrete plan to help and protect your family just in case. And, by preparing now, you won’t have to worry about having to do it later.
If you’d like a little more help with your estate planning or putting together a will, we will help.