At some point soon you will want to consider the future of your estate for after you pass away. You will have to decide how it will be divided up, which individuals to include in any plans you have for your assets, and how and if you want to leave a legacy, among many other items. The way you tie all these ideas, thoughts, and wishes together is an Estate Plan.
An estate plan includes things like a will, trusts, living wills, healthcare proxies, powers of attorney, and even detailed instructions for how things should be handled after you pass away, and in some cases while you are still alive.
The Estate Plan Concept is for Everyone
When the word “estate” gets used some people immediately think of those with a lot of money or palatial property. In reality, every person has an estate.
Your estate is everything that you own. It includes your valued family treasures, the silverware in your dishwasher, and your kids’ toys alike…and everything in between!
Of course, it’s not just physical possessions either; it can consist of your bank accounts and insurance policies, retirement accounts, and items that you have been saving for your children and grandkids.
An estate plan will help you protect all of these things, and more, giving you the ability to discern what happens to it all when you pass away.
An Estate Plan for the Living?
There are situations we’ve all experienced or watched friends go through, when a person becomes physically or mentally unable to care for themselves or even make good choices for themselves. An estate plan becomes the means for someone in that state to still have some control, albeit from decisions they’ve prepared ahead of time.
While you have the capacity to make plans today, you can assign power of attorney to a specific person you trust and even include medical care instructions when or if the need arises. Should you become incapable or incapacitated, but still alive, everything you have is then protected from your actions, or from predatory strangers taking advantage of you while you are unable to understand or say, “no!”
When A Stranger Has Control
This scenario is probably the scariest part of NOT creating a plan. Without the guidance of a will, trust, power of attorney or other aspects of an estate plan, complete strangers may be left to decide what happens to everything you have. These aren’t shady characters in back-alleys, necessarily. They are usually judges, or doctors, or other professionals. But what they likely will not be is someone who knows you intimately, understands the dynamics of your family, and has the benefit of decades of experience being you and making the decisions on your health and wealth that YOU would make.
Your Estate Plan is Dynamic
Some choose not to develop an estate plan until they are older; this may be because they mistakenly believe that an estate plan cannot be modified once it is completed. The truth is that for an estate plan to work for you, it must be dynamic. Your estate plan should grow with you and change as the circumstances in your life change and evolve. For this reason, it’s essential that as you seek to establish your estate plan, you look for an estate planning attorney you can trust.
Knowing Who You Can Trust
We have been helping people plan and manage their estate plans for over 15 years. We take the time to listen to your concerns, so we can offer the advice and guidance that will best help you develop the right plan for your family and situation. For more information or help with your estate plan, please contact us today.