No matter your age or personal situation, you should have a basic estate plan. Having the right documents in place can provide peace of mind, and ensure the execution of your wishes in the event of your incapacity or death.
Since there are only three elements to consider, putting a plan in place will not take excessive amounts of time.
Last will and testament
Your will can address these important issues:
- Determine the distribution of your assets upon your death
- Appoint a guardian for your minor children
- Appoint an executor who can administer your will and finalize your financial responsibilities
Since a will is only triggered by your death, your executor cannot act as your representative in any way while you are alive. That makes the next two documents imperative.
Durable power of attorney
The durable power of attorney enables your named agent to act on your behalf should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. This authority ends when you regain the ability to act for yourself or upon your death, when your will becomes the appropriate document.
This document can also help your family avoid a court-appointed conservatorship should you become incapacitated for an extended length of time.
Advance health care directive
This document details your end-of-life wishes and is a gift to your loved ones should something tragic happen. You can state your wishes in case of terminal illness, including artificial nutrition and life support, and appoint an agent to make these decisions on your behalf.
It’s never too early – or too late – to put your estate plan in place. Beginning with these three documents can bring your family peace of mind.