Estate Planning Guide
A guide the to estate planning - learn the 3 steps to ensuring the future of your loved ones.
Death and taxes. They may be the two unavoidables of life but they are also the two subjects that people like least to talk about. Combine the two and you’ve got a definite no no. However, estate planning – working out what happens to your personal effects after you die – is an important issue that should not be avoided merely because it is uncomfortable. Proper planning now could well save tour loved ones a lot of time and money in the future.
The first step is take out a will. A will is a written document that ecifies the who, when and how of the transfer of your property when you die. If you die without a will you are said to have died intestate. This will cause your family no end of problems. So, regardless of your current financial position, it is wise to get a will completed.
You don’t have to use a lawyer in completing a will, but you are required to follow certain guidelines. You can find many books and software that will guide you through the will preparation process.
If you amend your will or make a new one you should destroy all copies of the previous one.
You should also have a durable power of attorney. This document speaks for you if you are incapacitated. It allows you to legally transfer authority to another person to handle your personal affairs, from signing your checks to preparing your tax return. This is a very powerful document so you must ensure that you have absolute trust in the person that you hand this power over to.
A living will is another document that you should consider. This document spells out your wishes in terms of medical care. Important decisions about the way you want to be treated in, say, a car accident, can only be made upon deep reflection on your philosophical and religious views. This must, therefore, take place before an accident or injury takes place. A living will will ensure that your family and doctors act in accordance with your wishes.
All of your good work in preparing a living will may be undone if the document cannot be quickly found when needed. It is imperative, then, that your loved ones can quickly and easily locate the document if you become injured.
These three documents - a will, a durable power of attorney and a living will – will give you a good estate plan and provide peace of mind in case some tragedy does befall you. And that’s well worth the effort.