Most people believe all they need to complete their estate planning process is a properly written will. However, this is not always the case. A good estate plan should avoid probate, protect your assets, save on taxes and designate someone to act on your behalf should you become disabled.
A strong estate plan should include certain essential elements or instruments. Here are three important elements that can strengthen your estate plan and safeguard your interests:
Last will and testament
This document outlines how you wish to have your assets distributed when you pass on. It names the specific people or entities that you want to receive your assets and what you would want to pass on to them. Without a will, your assets will certainly end up in a process known as intestacy, in which the state laws will determine how your assets will be distributed.
Health care power of attorney
This is yet another important element of an estate plan. This document names an individual you would wish to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated and, thus, unable to make such decisions on your own. These include your wishes concerning life support as well as any kind of life-sustaining medical interventions that you may or may not want.
Financial power of attorney
A financial power of attorney, similar to the health care power of attorney, is a legal document that names who you would want to make financial decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. These can include decisions like selling and acquiring assets, paying your bills as well as offsetting your debts.
Is your estate plan in order? If not, it is important that you incorporate these elements into it as soon as possible. A strong estate plan will give you peace of mind knowing that your future, assets and loved ones are safeguarded.