Is planning ahead valuable?
Considering who will make decisions around the time of your death can bring up a range of emotions; however, working through those decisions ahead of time can spare your loved ones from having to make excruciating choices – often with little or no notice.
Creating a comprehensive will or trust and advanced healthcare directives gives your loved ones a road map to follow should you be incapacitated or pass away. It also allows for you to make the difficult decisions beforehand so that your loved ones can follow your wishes rather than being forced to guess what you would like them to do.
Estate Planning Documents:
- Durable Power of Attorney – A written authorization allowing another person to act regarding your finances and property on your behalf. This grant of authority can be incredibly broad or very specific depending on the wishes of the grantor.
- Health Care Power of Attorney – A written set of instructions that allows another person to make health care decisions if you are unable to act on your own behalf. This document is also called a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate.
- Living Will – A written document directing the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures if any of the following conditions apply to you: 1) a terminal condition; 2) an end state condition; or 3) a persistent vegetative state.
- Trust – A document creating a relationship between the author and a trustee, whereby the trustee holds the author’s property subject to enumerated responsibilities to protect and distribute the property. In a revocable trust, the author and the trustee can be the same individual, and the author retains the right to change the trust terms during his lifetime. An irrevocable trust cannot be altered once it is established.
- Last Will & Testament – A detailed set of instructions enumerating how you want your estate to be distributed when you pass away, and creating any trusts or guardianships for your dependents.