Estate planning can be important for anyone and is not just for individuals who are wealthy or later on in life. Estate planning provides protection and also provides direction for loved ones in circumstances of death or incapacity. It is important to consider estate planning, what that means for the estate planner and to preserve those wishes in writing.
There are a number of important considerations and documents that may be included in an effective estate plan. A will is an important part of any effective estate plan and is a document that most individuals are commonly aware of. A will records the wishes of the party executing the will concerning their funeral, burial or cremation. Importantly, it also outlines who will inherit what and the wishes of the party executing the will.
Trusts can also be an important element of an effective estate plan and can include certain assets that are set aside for beneficiaries, as well as account for a number of other circumstances. Guardianship of children can also be included in an estate plan and is likely something on the minds of most parents.
A power of attorney document and an advance directive, or living will, are also important documents to include as part of an effective estate plan. A power of attorney identifies and designates a party that is responsible for management of finances and other personal affairs of the estate planner in the event the estate planner becomes unable to manage their own finances or personal affairs. An advance directive records the care and treatment wishes of the estate planner for the end of life.
Effective estate planning is important to the estate planner but is also invaluable to family members of the estate planner, as it provides protections and direction for family members during a difficult time. In addition to a will, trust, guardianship concerns, power of attorney and advance directive, there are other estate planning considerations depending the circumstances which is why it is helpful to understand the estate planning process and to not shy away from its importance.