It is not uncommon for people to find it difficult to delve into areas that are new to them, and this is one of the root causes behind estate planning procrastination. When you are thinking about preparing your assets for ultimate distribution to your heirs after you pass away there is so much to consider that the task can seem daunting, and as a result you simply keep putting it off. That is understandable, but it is risky because each day that you go without having a plan in place is a gamble with the well-being of your family members being placed at risk.
To demystify things rudimentary estate planning is essentially comprised of addressing two necessities. The first one is quite obvious: you need to put an asset transfer vehicle or vehicles in place. Last wills are very commonly used to serve this purpose, and some people will choose to utilize revocable living trusts. There are numerous other ways to pass along assets, and the best combination is going to vary depending on the exact nature of your assets, whether or not you are exposed to the estate tax, and exactly what it is that you intend to accomplish with your estate.
The other base to cover is that of possible incapacity. It is not uncommon for people to go through a period of incapacity before passing away, so it is important to name representatives to act on your behalf should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. This is done through the execution of durable powers of attorney. A durable medical power of attorney is used to appoint someone to make health care decisions in your behalf. In addition to this you will probably want to execute a durable financial power of attorney, naming an attorney-in-fact who will be empowered to handle your financial affairs should you become unable to do so.
The best way to gain a deeper understanding is to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney. You can express your wishes, ask any questions that you may have, and move forward with creating a plan so that you are leaving nothing to chance as you enter the latter portion of your life.