There are certain responsibilities that go along with becoming a self-supporting adult, and one of these is the need to have at least a minimal estate plan in place. Obviously if your estate is large and complex you are going to have more things to consider than just the basics, but let’s look at the core components here today that just about everyone should have in place.
First off you’re going to need to have an income replacement vehicle, especially if you have family members depending on your income. If you were to envision where your family would be if your income was to suddenly vanish you will immediately recognize the importance of such a vehicle, and the most common solution is life insurance. Most people are introduced to life insurance when they sign up for their benefits at work, but as life goes on and things change it is very likely that you’re going to have to update your coverage to reflect your new family dynamic and economic situation.
Secondly, the basic estate plan is going to include an asset transfer vehicle. The last will is the most commonly used vehicle of asset transfer in estate planning, and everyone is aware of what a will is intended to accomplish. There are however other choices that are appealing to some, including revocable living trusts. Deciding which one is best for you is something that is best determined with the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Lastly, it is important to execute advance health care directives. People commonly include both a living will and a durable medical power of attorney in their estate plans. With a living will you express your preferences regarding whether or not you would want to be kept alive via the use of artificial means if you were in an uncommunicative terminal condition. Through the execution of the durable medical power of attorney you empower an agent to make medical decisions in your behalf should you become incapacitated and unable to do so.