When people hear the word estate, they tend to think of the wealthiest people in the country. When you combine that word with planning, many younger people think that estate planning is simply something for the wealthiest to do in an effort to avoid taxes upon death. This cannot be further from the truth. Estate planning is a group of legal documents that get your affairs in order prior to your death.
Sadly, more than half of the American population does not have important estate documents signed and at the ready. This can lead to some serious problems should the person become incapacitated or even die prior to planning his or her estate.
A living will is a common document many Americans don't have at the ready. This document is so important because it tells doctors what they are allowed and not allowed to do when it comes to the treatment of an incapacitated patient. The treatments can include resuscitation, ventilation, artificial nutrition and more.
A power of attorney is another document that many Americans fail to create with their estate attorney. This document helps your spouse manage your finances should you become incapacitated. It is similar to a living will in that the person designated as the power of attorney can make decisions on your behalf.
A trust is also a legal document that everyone should have. It is different from your typical trust fund. A trust outlines when your children can access assets you leave behind upon your death.
Planning out your estate can be difficult. You have to face the fact that death is inevitable. Many people cannot bear to think about life like this, which is why so many people die without a will. Protect your assets, your rights and your family by getting your affairs in order now.
Source: Forbes, "More Than Half Of Americans Don't Have These Essential Estate Documents, Do You?," Jan. 26, 2018