Estate planning is defined as “the act of preparing for the transfer of a person’s wealth and assets after his or her death.” It is a common misconception that only those with significant assets should consider estate planning. Instead, it is something which everyone should consider. There are many aspects which affect more than just physical assets. Further, it can offer your loved ones peace of mind in knowing that they have carried out your wishes as you wanted them done.
A comprehensive estate plan can include a Last Will and Testament or trust, Letter of Intent, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, beneficiary designations, and guardianship designations. These documents cover all bases, including those that families often fail to consider. Accounts such as retirement and insurance policies can pass outside of an estate if there are beneficiary designations. This prevents the court from deciding on its distribution, which often times also prevents family disputes.
Guardianship designations are also extremely important for couples who have children. Without these, a court could rule that your children live with someone whom you would not have approved of. A durable power of attorney will allow an appointed representative to act on behalf should the individual ever become mentally incompetent. A healthcare power of attorney allows an appointed representative authority to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf.
As we can see, estate planning is important for everyone. An experienced attorney can assist families in preparing for the future with best interests in mind for all.