Have you put together your estate plan yet? We often hear from people that they don’t think about estate planning until later in life when they’re nearing retirement age, but people of all ages need an estate plan. From unexpected accidents to illnesses, we can’t always plan for tomorrow. Having an estate plan in place protects the assets you have now, and provides your family with instructions for when you’re not here anymore.
We’ve put together this estate planning checklist that covers all the essential documents you’ll need.
A Living Will is a legal document in which a person specifies what medical decisions they want made for them in the event that they are no longer mentally able to make those decisions. For example, a Living Will might specify that a person would like to remain on life support if they become incapacitated.
You can also nominate a person in your Living Will to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, if you become unable to do so. Examples include being in a coma, being incapacitated from an illness or an injury, or being on life support. Your estate planning attorney will guide you through all the potential medical scenarios, so you can decide exactly what you want to happen.
Durable Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney (PoA) gives someone else, referred to as your agent, the authority to act on your behalf. Spouses most often choose each other as their PoA, but it can also be a close friend or another family member. The person who has PoA is frequently responsible for making financial decisions on your behalf.
List of Assets
This is exactly what it sounds like. In order to decide what will happen to your assets when you’re no longer here, you’ll need to list them all and assign a numeric value to each one. Your assets include things like property, cars, bank accounts, businesses, jewelry, and other valuables.
Your beneficiaries are the people to whom you will bequeath your assets after your death. Most people pass their assets down to their surviving spouse, children and grandchildren, but your beneficiaries can be anyone you know and love.
This document allows you to transfer assets into a trust for your beneficiaries while you are still alive, meaning there’s no need for probate court proceedings. People who have large estates or complicated finances often create Living Trusts in order to start transferring possession of their assets before they pass away.
For more information about the documents mentioned in our estate planning checklist, or if you’re ready to get started with your estate plan, please contact our team at SCC Legal today. When it comes to estate planning, it’s never too early to begin. Learn more by visiting us at: https://www.scclegal.com/