Many people view estate planning as a daunting task. Whether you aren’t sure where to start or you’re put off by the prospect of confronting your own mortality, you may share those same sentiments. But tackling your estate plan doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming.
While it’s true that a good estate plan often contains multiple documents, each individual document serves its own purpose and contributes to the safety and security of your family. Knowing what elements are available to include in your estate plan can help you start preparing for your future.
Most commonly associated with estate planning, a will is a document that lists your assets and beneficiaries. It details how you’d like your belongings to be distributed. This includes your property, vehicles, money, clothes, jewelry and even pets. In your will, you can also appoint guardians for minor children or incapacitated adults.
Trusts are similar to wills in that they list your assets and beneficiaries. However, a trust involves a third party, called a trustee. When you place assets in a trust, those assets pass into your trustee’s hands when you can no longer manage them. It is up to your trustee to then oversee your estate and distribute your assets.
Depending on your needs, there are a few different types of trusts to choose from. Additionally, many people choose trusts over wills because they come with additional benefits such as avoiding probate and maintaining privacy. Other people use both trusts and wills in their estate plan.
Advance healthcare directives
Many people think that estate planning is just for death. On the contrary, you should prepare to plan for life as well. An advance healthcare directive is a useful tool that can help you do just that.
Sometimes known as a living will, a healthcare directive allows you to specify your wishes should you fall ill or incapacitated and can no longer speak for yourself. The details of an advance healthcare directive might include caregiving directions, treatment preferences and even organ donation instructions.
Don’t hesitate to seek assistance
Your estate plan should be unique to fit your needs and the needs of your family. And although you shouldn’t be scared of estate planning, it can be a complicated process. An estate planning attorney can be beneficial to you during this time. They can assist you in figuring out which documents you’ll need to include in your estate plan to ensure a safe and secure future for you and your family.