When Do I Need to Start Estate Planning?
February 21st, 2020
Ensuring that you have an estate plan in place, even at a young age, can be crucial to having your affairs handled in the manner that you choose.
Many individuals fail to engage in estate planning early in their lives because they don’t believe that they have a need to do so. They often think that estate planning is only necessary for much older people, or for people who have children, or for people with significant amounts of assets. The reality is, however, that unexpected deaths happen all the time, even to young people, so the sooner that you engage in estate planning, the fewer issues that your loved ones will have to handle in the event of your unexpected passing. Therefore, even young adults should take steps to participate in a simple estate planning process for the benefit of their loved ones.
You don’t have to execute a large number of legal documents in order to get a basic estate plan into place. The foundation of many estate plans is the will. This legal document sets forth how you want your property distributed following your death. In addition to property distribution, a will allows you to specify a person or persons to be executor of your estate, as well as name a person to act as guardian for your minor children.
Everyone should have both a financial power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. A financial power of attorney allows you to designate a person to handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated and unable to do so. This document allows a designated person, such as a spouse, parent, or child, to act on your behalf with respect to all aspects of your finances if you are incapacitated. In other words, your designated person could pay your bills, buy or sell real estate, deposit and withdraw money from your bank account, and any other action that you might take yourself that concerns your financial affairs.
On the other hand, a medical power of attorney permits you to designate a person to make decisions about your medical care if you are unconscious, in a coma, or otherwise incapacitated. Your designated person can give consent for you to have surgery, decide whether to continue life support for you, and decide what type of treatment you should receive. Some people designate the same person, such as their spouse, to act on their behalf in both financial and medical powers of attorney. However, some people choose different people to fill those roles, perhaps based on their education or area of expertise
Our team at Legacy Law Center pride ourselves on successfully guiding clients through the estate planning process, as well through probate proceedings, if necessary. We have the knowledge and resources to help you make the decisions that are best for you and your family. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and learn how we can assist you.