Estate Planning EssentialsEstate plans are an area that many people believe they will have time to develop but often neglect.  Some may think they’re too young for this kind of preparation or they may be putting it off because they find the topic difficult to confront.  The problem with delaying estate planning is that you run the risk of not having the right measures in place to protect your interest when you need them the most.  However, by having certain key estate planning essentials in place you can avoid significant problems for you and your loved ones down the road.

Patient Advocate Designation

A Patient Advocate Designation (PAD) allows you to name another person to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.  This is a document which everyone should have in place right away.  The reason being is that it is not possible to determine if you are suddenly not going to be unable to make choices regarding medical treatment.  For instance, you could be involved in a car accident or experience an unexpected medical issue which renders you unconscious.  In this circumstance, you will want to have someone you trust in the medical decision-making role.  A PAD which is sometimes called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care allows you to make your choices and preferences known through your advocate.  Your named decision-maker will be able to direct your treatment and make decisions regarding your healthcare.   Without this crucial document in place, you could be leaving decisions about your care up to someone a court designates rather than the person you would want in this role.

Power of Attorney for Finances

Another estate planning essential is including a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.  This document permits you to name someone to step into your place and make decisions about your financial matters.  A person in this role can oversee your household expenses and, in some cases, make choices about your property, investment and business interest.  Just as in the case of a PAD, if you do not have someone designated through this device, a court could appoint a person of its choosing to make these essential decisions.

Your Will

Having a will in place is vital as it will direct where your property goes and provide instructions as to your final wishes.  Without one your estate will be divided according to the law rather than your preferences.  One option for certain assets is to create a trust which names beneficiaries.  With a trust, you can keep certain assets from becoming part of probate.  Having both a will and a trust may be beneficial in some situations.  Both wills and trust allow you to decide what happens to your estate rather than leaving it up to a statutory process.

Having estate planning devices ready means that you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your interest are protected, and your final wishes will be honored.  Our office has the knowledge and experience you need to plan for your estate thoroughly. Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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