Estate Planning Can Benefit Everyone
Estate planning deals with issues that touch everyone’s lives. While no one wants to think about death or the possibility of disability, incapacity, or the need for long-term care, we all must address these issues at some point in our lives, both for ourselves and often for a loved one. For this reason, it is important to realize the following points:
You do not need a lot of money to benefit from estate planning. Even if you have few possessions, you still have a right to decide who will get them, who will care for your minor child, who will settle your affairs, and what will happen if you become disabled, incapacitated, or require long-term care. More often than not, addressing these issues upfront is significantly less expensive and burdensome than handling the fall out in the absence of proper estate planning.
You do not need to be old to benefit from estate planning. While the realities of disability, incapacity, and death become more apparent with age, the benefits of estate planning are the same regardless of your age. Even younger individuals need to plan for incapacity, long-term care, and the possibility of death, especially where minor children, real estate, or individuals with special needs are involved. An unfortunate reality of life is that it’s far better to be prepared and secure should a tragedy occur.
Start the Process Early: The Importance of Planning Today
Estate planning is often put off for the future because it seems overwhelming and the benefits seem too far removed. However, it is essential to start planning early. The benefits of having an estate plan in place far outweigh the cost or inconvenience of creating one. If you’ve ever been forced into the process by a tragedy with a loved one, you recognize the importance of planning while you are still in control and making the decisions.
As with any planning tool, your estate plan can only be truly effective if it is already in place when it is needed. Once estate planning becomes relevant or necessary, it is often too late to efficiently and successfully carry out your goals. Proper planning is essential to avoid unnecessary uncertainty, anxiety, and expense, should such a tragedy occur.
Putting Your Estate Plan in Motion
An effective estate plan, which should include a will, medical power of attorney, durable financial power of attorney, and living will (and may include a revocable living trust), can give you the peace of mind in knowing there’s a secure and certain future for you and your family. Hodges Law, LLC can help you evaluate your unique position, discuss your goals and concerns, and execute an individualized estate plan that works best for you.
Any complete estate plan should contain:
1. A Last Will and Testament
2. A durable health care power of attorney naming an agent (and an alternate agent) responsible for medical decision-making
3. A living will or other advance directive giving instructions concerning the type of care one wishes to receive (or avoid) in the event of a terminal illness, and
4. A durable financial power of attorney naming an agent (and an alternate) responsible for asset and financial management if one is unable to do such things for oneself.
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