Over the past year and half, we’ve all thought about contagious diseases and healthcare much more than we normally would. Living through a state of emergency can prompt us to rethink many of our plans, including our estate plans. Or, you might be just now realizing that you need to consider estate planning.
Estate planning encompasses much more than simply writing a Will and deciding who inherits your property. Thorough planning will also help you to make decisions about healthcare and your finances in the event that you’re ever incapacitated by illness or injury. You don’t want to leave these important matters up to chance, or have a judge decide for you.
Take these steps to get your estate planning process started.
Gather your documents. Gather documents related to life insurance plans, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other important assets. These need to be in one, accessible place, and your designated loved ones or attorney need to know about them. Make sure beneficiary forms have been filed with each financial institution so that they know to whom they can release funds in the event of your incapacity or death.
Talk to an attorney. An estate planning attorney can help you draw up the necessary documents to reduce stress for your heirs, protect your property, and ensure that everything is distributed according to your wishes. You should also consider designating a power of attorney or healthcare proxy in the event that you’re injured or very ill, and need someone to take care of financial matters and healthcare decisions for you.
If you’re a business owner, estate planning takes on a whole other level of importance. Who will run your business in your absence? What kind of decisions can be made, and by whom? Your estate plan should include provisions for your business.
Consider your end-of-life wishes. Do you want, or are you opposed to, various forms of end-of-life care (such as life support)? What about organ donation? Do you have any special requests for a funeral? Your estate planning attorney will discuss these issues with you in more detail.
Call us to schedule an appointment. We should also evaluate your plans with regard to the financial side of things. As you plan for your future, schedule an appointment with us so that we can dovetail our strategies with your estate plan.