During the process of creating your estate plan, you will be forced to make difficult decisions. It is important to take the time to think about your decisions carefully. Let’s talk about the things you will want to consider before starting your estate plan.
- What do you want to accomplish with your estate planning?
- Who do you want to pass your assets to?
- Do you have specific wishes regarding medical treatments and procedures?
- Who would you name as a guardian for your minor children and who would you trust to handle assets designated for their care?
- Who would you appoint as your agent to help you make important financial or medical decisions if you are ever unable to?
- Do you have an opinion about funeral planning arrangements?
- Would you like to include your pets in your estate plan?
- Who would you choose to manage your estate affairs after you die?
- Do you need to include planning for a special needs child or loved one?
- Are you interested in leaving assets to your children in the form of a trust that protects their inheritance from their future ex-spouses, lawsuits or other claims?
A basic estate plan consists of a well thought out, integrated plan which should include the following documents:
- Revocable Living Trust: This private document holds title to your property and avoids the court process of probate. Revocable Living Trusts can be extremely flexible and provide direction for your assets and heirs for years to come.
- Last Will and Testament: At death, a Will transfers assets titled in your sole name.
- Financial Power of Attorney. This documents appoints a trusted person to make financial decisions if you are unable to make them for yourself.
- Health Care Power of Attorney: This documents appoints a trusted person to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to make them for yourself.
- HIPAA Authorization: This document designates those individuals who are allowed access to your protected health information. Without a HIPAA Authorization, a health care provider, such as hospital personnel may refuse to provide any information to your family in the event of an emergency.
Take the time to think about your estate planning goals. By thinking about difficult topics, and making important decisions, you will be able to have a plan in place for the unexpected.
The attorneys at Sinclair Prosser Gasior have helped thousands of families customize unique estate plans that address their goals and concerns. Contact us today for a consultation!