If you’re like most people, you know that you need some sort of estate plan, but aren’t completely sure why. Here are 4 things your estate plan can do for you:
1. Plan for your disability
If you become disabled during your lifetime, your estate plan will provide the authority and instruction for your trusted helpers (your trustee or agent) to act on your behalf. Your financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and revocable living trust all contain disability provisions.
2. Provide for your family
When you die, your estate plan will also provide the authority and instruction for your trusted helpers to provide for your family. Your will and revocable living trust contain such instructions. In addition, life insurance is commonly used to replace your income, create an estate, or equalize an estate so life insurance is part of the estate planning process.
3. Avoid probate
If you want to keep your estate finances and beneficiaries private and save money and time, you can design your estate plan so your assets avoid probate.
4. Ease family stress
The more comprehensive your estate plan, the less stress your family will suffer when you die. If your family knows your plans and wishes ahead of time, they will now what to expect and what is expected of them when the time comes.
A family meeting with your estate planning attorney while you are alive and well goes a long way in reducing stress. Your family has the opportunity to ask questions and learn about their responsibilities as your agent or attorney in fact under your financial and medical powers of attorney, executor under your will, and your trustees under your trust.
Having funeral arrangements completed is part of the estate planning process as well.