Estate planning allows you to decide how your assets should be distributed upon your death. In essence it allows control from the grave! And a word of advice to those under 50, dying does not just happen to old people. But too often young people think it does and that is a stumbling block to get this last piece of the financial plan finished.
If you do not have a will the state will provide one for you. It’s that simple, says a post on the CBS Boston website titled, “Estate Planning For All.”
Yes, your state’s estate laws and the probate judge will decide who will get your assets if you die. And if you are married with young children and both you and your spouse pass at the same time, the judge also gets to decide who will be the children’s guardian.
Think about that.
Now think about your family. Is there a cousin Vinny, or maybe a Cousin Itt on the family tree?
Do you want either of those two and their families raising your kids?
Talk to the person(s) you are considering to raise your children. Find out about their values, goals, parenting style, and maybe most importantly—their patience level.
Estate planning doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or complicated. And it’s not just for millionaires and movie stars. You still want to do it right, and you should turn to a professional to make sure you have the following documents drafted correctly.
Draft a will. Name an executor/executrix to execute your wishes and distribute your assets and if you have minor children you should name a guardian for them.
Sign a Durable Power of Attorney. This lets you to appoint an individual to act on your behalf legally and financially if you are incapacitated.
Health Care Proxy. This lets you to select someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them. You need to have a discussion with the person you ask to be your proxy about how you feel about death, dying, and life support. Make sure they understand that this is about you and your wishes—not about what they think is right.
Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney, create a sound estate planning strategy, and keep Cousins Vinny and Itt out of the plans.
Reference: CBS Boston (May 1, 2015) “Estate Planning For All”