Estate planning is a legal process that establishes who will receive your assets or make decisions for you in the event of your passing or incapacitation. One objective is ensuring your assets are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries in a way that reduces or eliminates estate taxes, gift taxes, and other tax implications.
It is best to have the help of either your personal attorney, or a trusted professional attorney through a reputable law office when you need estate planning services. You may not believe that your wealth is sufficient for estate planning. Yet, you may be surprised by the value of your assets. Here are four key decisions you must make with your attorney when creating an estate plan.
Create a Living Trust
A living trust is a legal document outlining how you want your body and medical treatment administered after passing or if you become incapacitated. These are specific instructions for your family regarding your medical treatments to help them deal with the times ahead.
Create a Living Will
A living will is a document that gives another person power over your medical care if you cannot communicate or make your own decisions. This designated person will express your wishes to medical professionals, such as whether you should undergo surgery or end-of-life care. The designated person does not need medical experience, but they should be able to make decisions in your best interest. Many people will select a spouse or adult child. However, you can designate any trusted adult to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is another document in which you appoint a person, or agent, to act on your behalf in certain financial matters. These financial matters include taxes, paying bills, and managing your assets. You can appoint one or more agents and nominate a successor who will act in your best interest if the original agent cannot continue.
Plan For Your Children’s Future
When planning your estate, you should document your wishes for the care of your children. Ensure that your family knows what you want by documenting your wishes for your children’s care, as well as their future.
You want to be as specific as possible when creating an estate plan. List all your assets and name responsible family members to help manage your assets and to be legal guardians for your children. You can always change your estate plan when circumstances change.