What comes to your mind when you think about planning your estate? Unfortunately, for most of us, we think about dying. Although, we realize it is going to happen to us one day, we don’t want to plan for it now.
Estate planning basics should be talked about in every household, especially as people get older. Do you need to pre-pan for your funeral? What about having a will? What will happen to all of your things? How do you make 100% sure that your wishes are carried out as you wanted if you’re not there to supervise?
There are many things that need to be taken care of before you die, and planning your estate will take care of most of them. Since death is an inevitable, you need to make sure that your family doesn’t have legal complications over your passing, and that your wishes are fully respected.
There is often a misconception about estate planning. Even though it states what happens to your assets after you die, it also determines what happens to seniors in the event that they are mentally unable to take care of themselves while they are still alive.
Planning Your Estate – Why Do We Need Estate Plans?
It’s sad to see someone, who has worked hard to provide for their family all of their lives, only to leave their family confused when they are gone. If you are an average American, planning your estate isn’t at the top of the list of your priorities, even though it should be. You cannot take an “I’ll deal with it later” attitude, because later might come sooner that you think.
Over half of all U.S. citizens never get around to preparing an estate plan. Perhaps, some underestimate its importance, while others have never even heard of one. What do you know about estate planning?
You can choose the person that you feel will be responsible for putting your assets where you wanted them. Without an estate plan, a court will decide the fate of your assets and will distribute them as they see fit. That’s not what people want when they die.
Planning Your Estate – 5 Important Documents You Should Sign Before You Die
• Power of Attorney – This will give authority for someone to legally act on behalf of you.
• Living Will – A living will is a prepared directive for physicians and other health care providers. It allows you to be in charge of what kind of care and treatment is given or not given to you when you are too sick to speak for yourself.
You might want a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order given if you can’t breathe on your own, and you are terminally ill. You might not want to be kept on a ventilator or other machines if your own organs have stopped functioning. If you don’t have a living will, these decisions will be left up to others.
• Will – A will is a legal way of letting others know where you want all of your assets and belongings to go when you die.
• Living Trust – A living trust ensures that your estate won’t need to go through probate court once you are gone. You remain the trustee as long as you are alive. As soon as you die, it’s turned over to the person you designated to distribute your property.
• Guardianship Plan – In the event you were legally caring for someone, you can designate another guardian to take over when you die.
Planning Your Estate – Pre-Planning Your Funeral
Yes, you should pre-plan your funeral. What better way of planning your estate than to make sure that your funeral plans have been taken care of? Remember, if you don’t take care of this yourself, you place the full responsibility on the shoulders of your family.
You don’t want this uncertainty at the time of your death if it can be avoided. Your family will already be grief-stricken and they will need to make other arrangements, too. If you can afford it, this will give you peace of mind, so when you are gone, you will have a proper burial in the manner you have chosen.
Planning Your Estate – Conclusion
You should be planning your estate now. You don’t want to wait until you are incapacitated in any way, and it’s no longer possible for you to think clearly and make proper judgments. The fact that you are worrying about it now, shows that you are concerned. So, start looking into it today and see that your assets are looked after properly when you are gone, and that you get quality care if you are suddenly mentally and physically unable to take care of yourself while you are still alive.