Estate planning is a subject that many people know too little about. It’s usually because an estate plan is something that people think only retirees or the wealthy need to worry about, but that’s far from the truth. Ideally, every adult should have an estate plan in place at an early age and update it throughout the years as they grow older and the circumstances of their life changes. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many adults, who not only don’t have an estate plan in place, but also don’t know what one is or why they need it.
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a legally binding collection of documentation that clearly states what a person’s wishes are regarding how their estate is to be managed after their death or if they become incapacitated. For the most part, an individual’s estate is made up of the following:
- Retirement Accounts
In most cases, the documentation that makes up an estate plan is a combination of the following:
- Durable Power of Attorney or Financial Power of Attorney
- Advance Healthcare Directive (AHCD)
- HIPAA Authorization
Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?
Even though many people go through life without one, estate plans are essential for adults. Many people don’t have an estate plan because they don’t have a lot of assets and/or they think it is expensive to create an estate plan. However, while in the past it was expensive to have a proper estate plan drawn up, these days it’s affordable.
In addition, you don’t need to have a lot of assets to benefit from an estate plan. In fact, even if you had no assets, an estate plan would be worth it, because it establishes your wishes regarding your long-term healthcare if you become incapacitated.
What Are the Main Steps in Estate Planning?
There are several steps involved in creating an estate plan. However, most of the steps are straightforward, and with the guidance of an estate planning attorney, you will most likely find that creating an estate plan is much simpler than you thought it would be. The following are the main steps you will need to complete to create an estate plan:
- Inventory your assets
- Try to acquire enough life insurance to ensure your family can maintain the same quality of life if you were to pass away
- Choose the type of estate plan that best fits you and your situation
- Pick a person to be the guardian of your kids and pets if you were to pass away or become incapacitated
- Choose a person to be your guardian if you were to become incapacitated
- Pick the people and/or entities that will be the beneficiaries of your assets upon your death
- Contact a professional, such as an estate planning lawyer, to help you create an estate plan
- Name an executor (a person selected to carry out the terms of your estate plan)
- Have your estate plan signed and notarized
- Store your estate plan in a safe and secure location and update it as necessary if your circumstances or plans change
Schedule a Consultation with Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today
No one looks forward to creating or updating their estate plan. However, taking care of it early and keeping it up to date is the best way to ensure that you maintain as much control over your future as is possible.
Through an estate plan, you can make sure that your loved ones are taken care of and that no one can go against your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your death or medical decisions concerning your health and welfare if you become incapacitated.
At Sobon Law, LLC, we can help you put your future in your control. Attorney Patrycja D. Sobon is dedicated to helping clients plan and safeguard a more secure future for themselves and their loved ones. She has made it her mission to use her knowledge, skills, and experience to educate clients about estate planning. Attorney Sobon has successfully guided individuals and couples through the process of using estate plans, trusts, and wills to protect their financial assets and set up plans to ensure medical decisions regarding their health and welfare are made according to their wishes even if they become incapacitated.