It’s never too early to begin planning your estate. Without a proper will or estate plan in place, your heirs and family members will struggle to divide your assets after your death. Many people are thinking about estate planning now, particularly with the number of COVID-related deaths in the US.
End-of-life decisions and estate planning decisions should be made well in advance, even if you’re a young and healthy person.
Depending on your assets, you might want to create a will or a trust. An estate planning attorney can help you determine which is the best option.
Living trusts are often preferred over wills because they don’t have any probate cost. They also don’t have the same level of publicity. You can decide between a revocable and irrevocable trust as well.
Regardless of whether you make a will or trust, you’ll need to have an executor for your estate. This will be the individual responsible for making sure that everything is done according to your plan. Most of the time, people will use their attorney as their executor, but some might appoint a family member.
Another aspect of your estate planning is updating your life insurance. Ensure the beneficiaries are up-to-date, lest they struggle to claim their share. If you own property, check on the ownership title. How does it change from person to person? Who will it go to next?
Your end-of-life plans should include any wishes you have about your body’s handling, medical treatment, and whatever else people need to know once you’re unable to make decisions yourself. If you want your doctors to take specific measures to preserve your life, outline those as well.
By using a healthcare power of attorney, you can designate someone to make medical decisions for you if you’re not able to.
When you write out your wishes regarding your assets, you must contact an attorney. Estate lawyers can make sure that your wishes are understandable and have no loopholes. Even if you don’t have a large income, you can still find affordable attorneys through services like the Affordable Legal Services from the American Bar Association. Some other lawyers will take cases on a sliding scale.