Estate planning involve planning for both death and incapacity.
You have heard you need an estate plan.
Surely this means you can merely get a will and call it good, right?
According to a recent The (Beckley WV) Register-Herald article “Important Medical and Financial Choices,” estate planning involves more than merely distributing assets.
How can you do this?
One way is to create an advance health care directive.
What is this?
It is a very fundamental legal document through which you give a trusted individual the right to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so yourself.
Our advance health care directive consists of a health care treatment directive to inform your agents and medical professionals regarding your care wishes, a durable power of attorney for health care decisions to empower your agents to carry out your wishes, and an anatomical gift declaration to confirm your organ donation intentions should the issue ever arise.
While you are at it, created a general durable power of attorney.
A cousin of sorts to the general durable power of attorney, this legal document allows a designated agent to make financial or medical decisions on for you within the guidelines you have laid out.
Although incapacity planning is important, you should not neglect the transfer of your assets at your death.
Sometimes a will is not the best option.
In this case, you could consider a living or revocable trust.
What does this accomplish?
It will transfer ownership of assets when you die to be sure, but just as important a living trust can provide probate-free management of your assets by a trustee you appoint should you become incapacitated and after your death.
Some assets transfer directly through beneficiary designations, whether to specified individuals, your will or living trust, or a little bit of both.
Be sure to review and update these designations regularly.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney will ensure you create the right plan for your specific situation, come what may.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: The (Beckley WV) Register-Herald (October 15, 2017) “Important Medical and Financial Choices”