Estate planning is often one of those things that don’t seem urgent until it’s too late. In general, people don’t want to think about making decisions associated with the end of their life. It’s a taboo subject, but it’s time to have the conversation, followed up with action.
Creating an estate plan takes the burdens off your loved ones when you pass away, and dying without one can put your family through a great deal of pain during an already heartbreaking time. Moreso, a strong estate plan is the best way to ensure that your final wishes are effectuated. If you’ve decided to make the important decision to plan your estate, our team at Drexler Law is here to help you get started.
Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?
Starting from the very basics— an estate plan is a collection of legal documents that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed when you pass away and how you want your loved ones to handle health and financial decisions if you are unable to do so.
Having an estate plan can give you peace of mind about the future, knowing that your family will be taken care of and leaving behind a legacy you want. Failing to establish an estate plan can have unintended consequences for your loved ones.
A study conducted by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave found that nearly half of Americans over 55 do not have a will yet. If there’s one thing that you get out of this article, it is that now is the time to plan your estate.
Essential Estate Planning Documents:
Wills: When it comes to estate planning, most people think about the need for a will. It’s the standard document in most estate plans. The primary purpose of a last will is to name a representative to oversee the distribution of your assets. You can also appoint guardians of your minor children or layout your funeral wishes. A living will details the medical directions you want to be followed if you become incapacitated.
Trusts: A trust is a legal entity that can manage your assets so that your chosen heirs can access them. One of the biggest benefits of having a trust is that these accounts do not go through the lengthy and difficult probate process.
Powers of attorney: These documents appoint a family member, friend, or advisor to make decisions on your behalf for financial, legal, and medical matters.
Advance healthcare directive: An advance directive encompasses all legal orders concerning your wishes surrounding future medical care. For example, it can explain your specifications regarding medical treatment and resuscitation.
Each estate plan should be carefully crafted to your unique wishes through the tools listed above.
Get Started With Your Estate Plan
Now that you are more familiar with the essential estate planning documents, the next step is to create yours.
Step 1: Make a list of all your assets
First, you’ll want to take inventory of everything you own. Make a list that includes bank accounts, investments, property, businesses, personal property, and debts. This will help you save time in the future and money when working with an attorney.
Step 2: Create a plan with an estate planning attorney
After you complete the first step, you can get started with estate planning. An experienced attorney will gather the right documents, guide you through the process, and provide advice specific to your situation.
Step 3: Execute your estate plan
Sign your documents and keep them somewhere safe. Then, you should notify those who are included in the plan and the role that they play.
Step 4: Keep your plan up to date
The final and most important step is to keep your estate plan updated as changes in your life occur. A divorce, birth of a child, or death could derail what you currently have in place.
Our Colorado estate planning attorneys can assist you in crafting an estate plan that clearly states your wishes and will be likely to hold up in court. Don’t wait another day— contact us at (719) 259-0050 and schedule your consultation.