Basic estate planning requires three points of planning.
You think you are fine without an estate plan.
You are healthy.
You are young.
You do not need to prepare one until you are older.
According to a recent Motley Fool article titled “3 Must-Have Estate Planning Documents To Get Done This Year,” you cannot predict when you will need an estate plan.
Because you do not know the future, you need to prepare for it now.
Your will goes into effect when you die.
Through a will you provide instructions regarding how you would like your estate divided, whether this be to family or charity.
If you have minor children, this is where you will designate a legal guardian to care for them should you and your spouse both pass away.
Without a will, these decisions will be up to the courts according to the laws of your state.
With a will, time and money will be saved in the probate proceedings by having our own plan and not relying on the state default plan.
An executor you nominate and trust will handle your estate under the supervision and protection of a judge.
Set up health care treatment directives.
Some estate planning is beneficial while you are alive.
This is where health care directives come into play.
What do these do?
They provide a legal record of your instructions for medical treatments should you be unable to communicate them yourself.
If you are placed on life support, this keeps your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions during hard times.
Name acting agents through powers of attorney.
Through powers of attorney, you can provide trusted individuals with the authority to handle your personal, health care, and financial/legal matters on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
Although loved ones may be able to obtain such permissions after the fact through the default probate process, it will cost precious time and money.
Do not leave your loved ones in a vulnerable estate.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a plan to meet your specific needs.
Reference: Motley Fool (February 18, 2019) “3 Must-Have Estate Planning Documents To Get Done This Year”