An estate plan offers people a way of protecting their wishes when they are no longer able to act on their own behalf. With proper planning, an estate plan can keep your loved ones from guessing what you wanted after your passing and also prevent any disputes over your estate.
More than half of all Americans do not have an estate plan in place. Without a thorough plan in place, you leave yourself, your family and your future in jeopardy. Here are three documents you can have in your estate plan to help protect your future:
Advanced health care directive
Estate plans are not just for when you pass away; they can also help you while you are still alive. If a time should come when an illness or injury should incapacitate you, you will not convey your medical wishes. This lack of communication can result in arguing over your wishes about being an organ donor, how long you want to say on life support, or any other major decision. With this document, you can answer these questions before they arise.
Financial power of attorney
Like your medical decisions, serious health conditions can keep you from overseeing your finances. You can appoint someone to act as your financial power of attorney to help take care of your money. Paying, maintaining your retirement and stock benefits, and other major decisions are something you can trust with someone to avoid them falling into ruin because of neglect.
Wills and trusts
Probably the most popular documents in estate planning, wills and trusts ensure that your estate will go to the correct beneficiary. Trusts can also help you account for taxes and have more control over how the contents of the trust are distributed to the beneficiary. By clearly explaining who will inherit what assets, you can eliminate any fighting over who should have what, as you have already made that decision for them.
Start your planning today
If you do not have an estate plan or have one missing some or all of these documents, consult with an estate planning attorney today. They can help you create a plan that you can count on in your future.