Estate Planning Essentials - Save Time, Money and Prevent Confusion!
June 6, 2016
People often ask me, "What's the difference between an estate plan and a will? What do I need?"
An Estate Plan allows you to care for your family even when you get sick or are no longer around. It saves your family members time, money and prevents confusion. Every Estate Plan should have three basic essentials: 1) Last Will and Testament, 2) Health Care Proxy/Living Will and 3) Power of Attorney. An Estate Plan provides not only for what happens when you pass away, but also what happens when you are still alive, but unable to make your own decisions.
Last Will and Testament
Facts: Having a Will enables you to offer guidance to your loved ones on where you want your assets to go upon your passing. It also nominates guardians for your minor children. Without a Will the state takes control over who gets what and decides who should take care of your children.
Benefits: Writing out a well thought out Will saves your loved ones time and money later. Lawsuits between family members about who is entitled to what asset can drag on for years, but can easily be prevented with a clear and thorough estate plan.
Health Care Proxy / Living Will
Facts: A Health Care Proxy (also known as a Medical Power of Attorney), designates an agent to make health related decisions and act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. A Living Will gives guidance to doctors and your loved ones on your preferences regarding end of life care.
Benefits: A Living Will allows you to state your healthcare preferences and not even a doctor can object to your wishes. Your agent will be the person in charge of ensuring that your wishes are carried out. This prevents confusion and fighting among family members in a time that is highly emotional and traumatic.
Power of Attorney
Facts: A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to choose an agent to manage your finances and other day-to-day affairs should you become incapacitated. You can have one comprehensive Power of Attorney or multiple Powers of Attorney for various responsibilities.
Benefits: Having a Durable Power of Attorney saves your family the inconvenience and expenses of having to go to court to receive permission to manage your finances if there is an emergency. You can expect a smooth transition between you and your agent to control your funds and you can be assured that the person in charge is someone you trust.
Have questions? Contact us and let's discuss how we can help you with caring for your family's future.