Most people don’t realize the importance of estate planning. They may think that what happens after they are gone is none of their concern, or they may just not realize the problems their family could face if the proper arrangements haven’t been made. No matter what the reason, it’s a sad reality that most people don’t start thinking about their last wishes until it is too late. Estate planning can take up a a lot of time and effort, but without it you run the risk of losing your life’s work or worse, leaving it to someone who you never intended to leave it to.
Many people beilieve that drawing up a final will and testament is the only step in estate planning, and that only the very wealthy have any need to do so. However, anyone who has saved up a descent amount of money and has made good investments throughout their life can benefit from estate planning, and there is a lot more to it than just drawing up a will. The two most common documents that accompany a Will are the Living Will and Power of Attorney:
Your Living Will is what will be used to make decisions about your life in the event that you are unable to make them for yourself. You, the declarant, will be able to indicate which medical treatments you do or do not want applied to you in the event you are suffering from a terminal illness or are in a permanent vegetative state. The most important thing to remember about a Living Will is that it does not become effective unless you are incapacitated. In other words, it will not be consulted as long as you are able to make your own decisions.
Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to assign someone to act on your behalf. This can mean anything from making sure your bills are paid to handling legal and medical paperwork, even dealing with insurance companies. In the event that you become incapacitated (whether by accident, sudden illness, or any other reason), assigning Power of Attorney to someone you trust is the best way to make sure that your life is properly maintained while you are away.
But planning your estate isn’t just for allocating your assets and ensuring that your wishes are seen to. If you have children, your will is where you will outline who will take care of them after you pass away. This is important for making sure that you children are not only well taken care of, but also raised in a way that you want them to be raised. Regardless of the monetary value of your estate, estate planning is the best way to avoid conflict within your family and make sure your final wishes are seen to once you are gone.