Estate planning is more than a will.
You are thinking about an estate plan.
You do not know what an estate plan involves.
According to a recent USA Today titled “Estate planning: 6 steps to ensure your family is financially ready for when you die,” there are a few foundational documents to an estate plan.
A will is a good place to start.
Through a will you can designate heirs and provide guidance on distributing assets.
You also need this document to nominate guardians for your minor should you and your spouse pass away.
Next set up an health care treatment directive.
Here you legally outline your wishes for medical care should you become incapacitated.
With a durable power of attorney for health care you can appoint an individual to make these medical decisions on your behalf.
A general durable power of attorney can give a person authority to serve as your financial or legal "attorney in fact" in case of incapacity.
If your family or financial circumstances are more complex, a revocable living trust may be a wise choice.
Through such a trust you can distribute assets with greater control and privacy.
It is often more efficient since it bypasses the probate proceedings.
You will need to designate a trustee to manage the trust and this individual should be aware of and accept the responsibility.
If you have retirement accounts, investment accounts, or a life insurance policy, make sure to name beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries on each.
Review these regularly and update them as life changes with marriages, divorce, births, or deaths in the family.
Do not feel like you must navigate this alone.
Estate planning is daunting and doing it wrong can cause nasty issues when you die.
Work with an experienced estate planning to create a plan to meet your goals and satisfy the laws of your state.
Reference: USA Today (April 1, 2019) “Estate planning: 6 steps to ensure your family is financially ready for when you die”