Estate planning may continually be on someone’s to-do list, but somehow it never seems to get done. Perhaps the priority of estate planning constantly slips simply because those who are not rich don’t think it applies to them. They should keep in mind that they are doing themselves and their family a big favor by having a plan in place if and when a tragic incident calls for immediate action. How, then, do they go about the process of creating an estate plan?
According to an expert from Market Watch, a person should begin by creating a will, which can be quick and easy to do for a simple estate plan, although a trust may be the appropriate instrument to use in a more complex estate plan that includes substantial assets. Next, an estate planner may want to think about whom he or she wants to put in charge of their estate and prepare a power of attorney for that purpose. Most people choose a grown child for this, but it could also be a trusted friend or advisor.
If they prepare for unexpected health care issues that require complex decisions by creating a living will, it will give them the chance to specify what type of health care they want or do not want to be provided for them in case they are not able to make decisions for themselves. Finally, bringing their family in on the planning in order to ensure everyone has a clear idea of that person’s estate plan and knows how to proceed in an emergency.
Estate planning is simply another step in the financial life of a diligent person approaching retirement or already retired. An experienced estate planning lawyer may be able to help retirees or anyone else who needs help drawing up a living will or setting up power of attorney.
Source: Market Watch, “5 estate-plan strategies for boomers“, Andrea Coombes, November 29, 2013