Death surely must find its way to everyone. After you have lived a successful life and eventually passed on, how will your estate be managed? In the case of sickness at the later part of your life making you unable to make decisions for yourself, how and who will be responsible for decisions regarding your health? These among others are vital questions you should answer and make provision for now that you are well and capable of making deliberate and rational decisions.
There are many things or task to be done when planning an estate. Below are five of those tasks which should top your list.
1. Making Health Care Provisions
As unfortunate as it is, one cannot predict the next minute. You can be healthy and vibrant one minute and wake up from a hospital bed the next morning. Advancement in age could be accompanied by unexpected health conditions which might take away one’s ability to make medical decisions by themselves. So the right time to make known what your decisions would be in varying conditions is now.
There are various means of legally making these decisions ahead of time. This will save your family members and loved ones the stress of making a tough call if it ever gets to that.
Health Care Proxy: Health care proxy is a legal document which authorizes anyone you choose to make decisions regarding your health on your behalf if you ever become incapable of doing so yourself. It is also called medical power of attorney. You might decide to choose your partner or spouse as your medical power of attorney. You can as well choose someone else as an alternate power of attorney in case something should happen to your primary power of attorney.
Living Will: This is the legal document where you make known your intentions concerning your health. In this document, you specify whether or not you would want a doctor to resuscitate or whether you would like to be kept alive with the aid of machines, etc. Now that you are capable of making decisions, it is very vital you make provisions for your health care in case something happens.
2. Choosing a Financial Power of Attorney
Just like choosing someone to make decisions regarding your health when you are no longer capable, it is also important to choose someone who will be in charge of your finance when you are incapable of doing it yourself. You can as well assign your financial power of attorney to your spouse.
The person who you wish to assign your power of attorney has to be experienced in financial dealings.
3. Choosing an executor
An executor is the person who will be in charge of the distribution of your estate to all the beneficiaries when you are no more. The executor does not necessarily have to be legal personnel but, he or she should be fully aware and understands his or her responsibilities and should be ready to take the necessary steps when the time comes. He should know beforehand that it isn’t an easy task.
It is your duty to introduce your executor to your estate attorney because even though not now, they will definitely work together someday. It is vital to make your heirs aware of whomever you have chosen to be your executor. Also, it is possible to change your executor or choose a co-executor.
4. Your will
Your will is the documents which contains details and specifications of how you want your estate to be distributed. You might want to give a major portion of your will to charity or to your heirs. Whatever may be the case, your intention is contained in this document.
5. Need to know file
A “need to know file” contains every bit of information concerning the decisions you made above. Some persons might decide to directly communicate these decisions to the persons involve. For some others, they might decide to make a tape recording which explains their wishes after they are gone.
This file ought to contain certain information such as usernames, passwords, copy of bank investment documents, contacts of your primary health care physician, etc.
It could really be hard making these plans knowing that one day you will be no more but, at the same time it is worth planning for.
Do you have questions or need help with estate planning? Our estate planning lawyers are available to give you all the help you need.
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