A key aspect to a sound financial plan is having your estate documents in order. While each individual and family’s estate plan is unique, there are a few recommended documents that everyone should have.
A health care directive appoints a person to make medical decisions for you in the event you’re incapacitated or unable. It also allows you to give your preference on decisions such as life support, where you want care, pain management, etc. Without a health care directive the medical provider may ask for family input (if available) or make the decision they feel is best for you, which may not be aligned with your desires.
A power of attorney names a person to handle your financial affairs in the event you are incapable. If you become severely injured, incapacitated, etc., someone will need to access your assets to ensure your bills are paid and your finances are in order. Without a power of attorney in place, it can be a nightmare for families when their main focus should be on the care of their loved one.
Most people think of wills as necessary to ensure their assets are transferred to their desired heirs, which is true in some cases. What some don’t realize is a will names the guardian of your children in the event of your death. This is especially important for those with minor children and should be reviewed from time to time to ensure you’re content on your choice of guardian.
Another important aspect of estate planning is making sure your beneficiary designations are up to date. As big life events occur (Marriage, kids, divorce, etc.) you’ll need to update beneficiaries on your investment accounts and life insurance policies. The last thing you’d want is for your assets to go to the wrong person or one of your rightful heirs to get left out at your passing.
Your life and the people in it are constantly changing. Since the last time you updated your estate documents you may have had a kid, got married, or had another life event that would cause the need to update your documents. Over time, people that you had once thought of as the right fit for the various duties in your estate plan may no longer be fit for that role. Reviewing and updating your estate plan at regular intervals is key to ensuring execution goes as smooth as possible.
To help ensure you and your family are prepared for the future and have these recommended documents completed, connect with your estate planning professional. Need help finding an estate planning professional? Connect with the Abbey Street team to start a conversation.