Planning your estate involves making plans ahead should in case something happens to you. There are many myths surrounding this particular topic. Most people think of it as “what the wealthy do” but this is not true. If it was true in time past, then it definitely has change as even the average wealthy man now has the need to plan their estate. Estate planning is for anyone who has something to leave behind for their love ones when they die. It does not necessarily have to be a private jet.
Another myth people believe is that “estate planning is for the old and ready to die”. Like the first one, this is also untrue as no one can say for certain when they are going to die. As painful as it is, the truth is that death can come knocking at any time, any day, anywhere and to whomever it chooses. This is simply one reason you have to start planning now. Another reason is incapacitation. As you can’t predict death, you can’t also predict what might happen to you next week or even the day after tomorrow. What if you get involved in an accident and you can’t make decisions on your own anymore will there be plans on ground on how things should run?
Planning saves your love ones the legal stress while you are no more. Should incase your mind is made up to plan your estate; these are some essential documents that should be included in your estate plan.
Documents essential for estate planning
Last will and testament: The last will and testament of a person (the testator) is a very important document that ought to be filed in an estate plan. This document has written in it your intentions concerning;
- How you want your properties and assets to be distributed among your heirs and beneficiaries at your death.
- Whom you name as executor – an executor is someone whom you have legally authorized to oversee the distribution of your estate among your heirs. An executor can be a spouse, parent, friend, etc. There are many roles of an executor. You can also name an alternative executor should in case something happens to your primary executor.
- Your choice of guardianship for your young children – if you still have. Without this, the court will decide who will look over your children if eventually they lost both their parents or if the surviving one is incapacitated.
Health care proxy: Health care proxy covers the area of your health, your medical care and medical decision making. Heath care proxy document makes provision for;
- Naming the person you have chosen to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
- The kind of treatment you would like to be given, the extent to which these treatments should be given. For instance some persons would want a DNR (do not resuscitate).
Durable power of attorney: This is the document in which you appoint someone who will act on your behalf both legally and financially. This person has the power to make decisions concerning your finance. He can sell or buy if he deems fit. But he is obligated to act for your best interest. Since he plays a very important role it is advisable you make your pick now that you are well.
Beneficiary designation: These are documents you fill for example when you open a back account. It contains details of your next of kin.
Revocable living trust: This document is used for passing assets to your heirs. It is different from a will. The person you name as your trustee could be a family member or an attorney. The person will manage your estate
Digital asset trust: You can use this document to decide what happens to your electronic assets. Your electronic assets include your email, social media accounts etc.
Letter of intent: This document entails detailed instructions on how you want certain things done. These things might not be included in your will. This document does not possess the same legal strength as do a will.
List of important documents: This document contains a list of your paper work, bank documents, usernames, passwords, etc. These help for easy access.
With these documents, your estate plan is set. Do remember that professionals have advice you make a regular update on your estate plan. Do well to contact our attorneys today.