If you have not yet made an estate plan, you should. Every adult needs one. The more assets you accrue and the older you get, the more vital it becomes.
Estate planning need not be difficult
You might find the prospect of creating your first estate plan overwhelming. However, by asking yourself a few simple questions, you can begin to make sense of it all:
- What do I want to happen to my estate when I die? If you have family, you probably want to pass your estate to them. To do so efficiently requires careful planning. Otherwise, you could end up paying excessive taxes. If you have debt, you should also take steps to prevent those you owe from laying claim to your assets.
- What happens if I need long-term health care? Many older people end up needing day-to-day assistance. A nursing home is often the best means of providing this. Health care issues can become more likely during old age, too, leading to significant medical expenses. You need to set aside resources to cover both these prospects. However, you need the right balance between having too much and too little. Having too much could exclude you from government benefits such as Medicaid. You could drain all your savings and have nothing left for your family.
- What happens if I get ill? Severe injury or illness can strike at any moment. You need to have a plan in place for this. An advanced health care directive allows you to make decisions about any treatment you receive. You can also select someone to make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated. Consider granting someone such as your partner or child a durable power of attorney. It would enable them to access funds to pay bills and sign documents if you cannot.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to estate planning. Seek legal help to discover the best answers for your particular situation.