Estate planning sounds pretty complicated, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Estate planning is all about using legal documents to dictate in what ways and how you would like certain things to happen when you pass.
Who, for example, will share in your assets? Should you become unable to communicate your wishes verbally or physically, who may make important decisions on your behalf?
Why estate planning is important
Accidents happen to both the young and old. Medical powers of attorney (also known as a living will) documents are part of life for almost all older people. However anyone over 18 should have a basic version of this document, too.
When a child turns 18, parents may not be able to make health care decisions for them, so if the child is in an accident, the parents may have to seek a courts permission to make basic decisions. The same concept applies to seniors as well. But that can all be easily avoided with a health care power of attorney.
An additional document should be completed authorizing someone to exercise power of attorney in financial matters as well. These are the essential documents everyone older than 18 should complete. Simple versions can be easily be found on the internet. A quick search for “free [your state name] power of attorney form” should give you exactly what you need.
These forms can easily be printed and folded into that card you’re giving your grandchild on their eighteenth birthday.
These kinds of documents help make some very difficult decisions far easier.
Wills are also important. Those just starting their careers may not have many assets, so wills can usually wait. However if you own a house or have substantial assets, a will is very important. While free documents can be found on the internet, it might be best to get professional assistance for this. Laws vary by state and everyone’s circumstances are unique.
While completing an estate plan, it is a good time to think about what you want to do with your wealth. Some people prefer to leave as much as possible to their children or charity, while others prefer to spend as much as they can.
But no estate plan is complete without the living will, power of attorney, and a general will. And these documents don’t have to be long and confusing; they just need to have the basic state minimum requirements to be found valid in the court of law.