Every individual, regardless of their financial worth, should have a proper estate plan. An estate plan, in general, consists of:
- A document to dispose of your assets following your death (usually a Last Will and Testament or a Trust),
- A document to direct management of your assets in the event of your incapacity (Durable Power of Attorney), and
- A document to direct your medical and end-of-life decisions in the event of your incapacity (Advance Medical Directive).
Careful thought should be given to entering into these documents. In the case of a Will or Trust, you must decide whom you want to benefit from your financial estate. Beneficiaries may include family members, friends, charities, clubs, organizations, and pets. Another important decision is the designation of someone to handle your affairs, either upon your incapacity during your lifetime or following death. You should choose someone who is responsible and whom you believe would make appropriate and similar decisions as you would make if you were capable of making them.
Additionally, you should make an inventory of all assets that you own, where they are maintained, and how they are titled. This information is very important to an estate planner because titling of assets goes hand-in-hand with estate planning. A listing of any professional advisors you are working with is also important to maintain (for example, a financial advisor, accountant, and physician).
Consideration should also be given to pre-arrangement of burial, funeral, or cremation services and costs.
In summary, you should give thoughtful consideration regarding distribution of your estate following death so that your intentions can be clearly and properly set forth in an estate plan. Estate Planning attorneys at Poole Brooke Plumlee PC are experienced in helping you reach decisions in order to create a valuable estate plan. Each person’s circumstances are different from another’s, and we can guide you through the process to ease any confusion as you proceed with your personal estate plan.