People sometimes assume that things take care of yourselves if you pass away without an estate plan. They are under the impression that estate planning is something that is only important for very wealthy people.
In fact, you should definitely have an estate plan in place, even if you have a relatively small estate. Everyone has belongings that have some value, and there are heirlooms and other items that may have sentimental value. You should carefully evaluate what you have to pass along, and you should create an inheritance list so that everyone that you love is appropriately remembered.
You could state your final wishes in a last will, but living trusts are also useful for people who are not particularly wealthy. If you use a living trust, you can maintain control of the assets while you are alive and well. After you pass away, the beneficiaries that you name in the trust declaration would receive their inheritances.
When you think about estate planning, you probably envision asset distributions. Clearly, this is certainly part of the process, but you should also consider end-of-life issues when you are devising your estate plan. This is very important, even if you are not in possession of a great deal of valuable property.
Many elders become unable to communicate their own decisions at some point in time. There is physical incapacitation that can come about due to a serious illness, but there is also mental incapacitation. Alzheimer’s disease is running rampant among our elders at the present time. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it strikes around 45 percent of people who are at least 85.
To account for possible incapacitation, you can execute documents called advance directives for health care. One of these directives is called a health care proxy. With this document, you name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.
A living will is another advance directive that should be part of your plan. With this type of will, you state your preferences regarding the utilization of life-sustaining measures.
You could also add a durable power of attorney to name someone to handle your finances if you were to become incapacitated at some point in time.
Learn All the Facts
We have provided some food for thought in this blog post. If you would like to obtain some more detailed information about the value of estate planning, download our in-depth special report. This report contains some eye-opening information, and it is being offered free of charge right now.
Attend an Upcoming Seminar
We will be conducting two different estate planning seminars later this month. They are free to attend, but we do ask that you register in advance. Visit this page to obtain more details and registration information: September Estate Planning Seminars.