Estates are like fingerprints. Every person has an estate, and therefore every adult needs an estate plan, Let's take a second to examine the reasons why an estate plan is important.
What is an Estate and do I have one?
Everyone has an estate! An Estate is comprised of anything that you own today that you can/will direct to be given to anyone else should you leave here today and the directions for those transfers is your Estate Plan.
What is an Estate Plan?
An Estate Plan is a collection of documents that lays out who should be responsible for the management of your affairs. Managing your Affairs could be temporary such as during a time of disability, or could be more permanent where you name an Executor to carry out your final wishes and following your ultimate demise.
An Estate Plan usually includes a Will, Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney with Advanced Directive. Collectively, your plan outlines how you would like for your money and property and other assets to be distributed, it can make provisions for whom should speak for you in the form of a power of attorney, and it will advise your family about what to do in the event of an end-stage illness with a healthcare directive and living will.
Are there any other components to an Estate Plan?
A comprehensive Estate Plan includes, but is not limited to: Life Insurance, Trusts, Guardianship protections and even Prenuptial Agreements. Using these tools will help you to shield your assets during your lifetime, minimize inheritance and estate tax liability, provide specific parameters and protections for beneficiaries, and any other purpose that your situation demands.
So, now that we understand why an estate plan is so important, it’s time to get yours started.