WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?
Estate Planning is simply the process of making it clearly known how you want your estate to be handled after you pass or if you’re incapacitated and unable to handle things on your own. The most common Estate Planning definition is — "the process of making plans for the management and transfer of your estate after your death, using a Will, Trust, insurance policies and/or other devices." Estate Planning has been around for many years, but it’s becoming increasingly more and more common.
WHY IS ESTATE PLANNING IMPORTANT?
Estate Planning is important for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest benefit is if you don’t properly prepare for what should happen in the future while you’re sound and capable, you’ll have no say in how your estate is handled or what your loved ones receive when that time comes. Planning today ensures your tomorrow is exactly as you envision it.
A properly prepared Estate Plan will lay out your wishes exactly, in the most tax-advantaged manner, so you can trust there won’t be any questions, misunderstandings or misconceptions about what you want.
WHO NEEDS AN ESTATE PLAN?
Short answer: Everyone. It’s easy to try and convince ourselves that we don’t need an Estate Plan. But the reality is, we would all be better off if we were planning a little more for our future. You don’t need to be wealthy, or elderly or even have a specific amount in your bank account to justify the need for a valid Estate Plan. If you are over the age of 18, you should start thinking about creating a plan.
Even if you don’t have a lot of assets, your Estate Plan is a guarantee that everyone will know what your wishes are. Health directives and long-term healthcare wishes are perfect examples of this – if you were ever to become incapacitated and couldn’t make your wishes known, your Estate Plan will speak for you, so your loved ones don’t have to make unthinkable decisions or wonder what you would want.
MOST COMMON ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS
- Financial Power of Attorney (POA)
- Durable Power of Attorney (POA)
- Advanced Healthcare Directive (AHCD)
- HIPAA Authorization