Deciding how to divide your assets and making sure your loved ones receive what you want them to have can be a simple matter. However, this is only possible if you understand the process of estate planning and where to begin. On the other hand, it can be a complicated issue that leaves your grieving family members in a state of confusion as they try to determine what your final wishes are. Proper estate planning can clear up any misunderstandings and prevent further stress and possible arguments among your loved ones regarding your belongings.
What is Estate Planning?
Simply put, estate planning is a way to give your possessions to people after you pass away. Anyone who has something and someone they will be leaving behind has an estate, whether it is worth a few hundred dollars or several million. Through a few official papers including wills, trusts, power of attorney documents, and other directives, you can designate exactly how you want your final assets to be distributed, whether it be among relatives, friends, or charitable organizations. Without these documents, your final assets will be distributed according to the state’s decision, even if that plan is not what you wanted.
What Does Estate Planning Involve?
There are a few different pieces that estate planning entails, including those you can utilize during your lifetime and those that are designed solely for your beneficiaries to access.
Some documents designed to benefit you during your lifetime include:
- Living will: States what your medical wishes are in case you become incapacitated and unable to communicate what you want to happen in certain circumstances
- Power of Attorney: Designates someone who can act on your behalf in legal matters
- Revocable trust: Allows you to have access to deposited funds during your lifetime
Some documents you can create to help your beneficiaries include:
- Your will: Designed to distribute your assets to your designated beneficiaries upon your death
- Irrevocable trust: A trust which contains funds that, once deposited, no longer belong to you; deposited funds immediately belong to the trustee
- Funeral plans: Let your loved ones know what your wishes are regarding your own funeral service
Why Should You Plan Your Estate Now?
It is never too soon to begin planning your estate. Accidents happen. Sudden illnesses occur. Circumstances often take us away from our loved ones before we are prepared to go. If you have people you will leave behind, take the stress and worry of dealing with your final wishes away from them by preparing your estate documents right away.
As a champion of elder law, Andrew M. Lamkin is prepared to help you start planning your estate documents now. If you are ready to take the first step toward making sure your loved ones are left with the memories and inheritance you want them to have, please contact us via our online contact form or call us at (516) 605-0625 to speak with us now about preparing your official estate papers.