What are the basic components of estate planning? They consist of the following:
A. The drafting of a Will and/or Trust. No estate plan would be complete without one. A will and/or trust directs who will be the beneficiary of your assets upon your passing, according to your wishes.
B. A Power of Attorney Over Healthcare. This directs who can lawfully speak for you in the event you become disabled, either totally or partially. The agent you appoint under this Power makes decisions about your healthcare if you are unable to make those same decisions yourself. In the event you do not have this Power of Attorney in place prior to your disability: your loved ones will have to have to file a Guardianship over your person.
C. A Power of Attorney Over Finances. This power grants your agent the ability to make decisions concerning your money and other financial investments in the event you are unable to take care of such matters.
D. A Living Will (also known formally as an Advance Directive to Physicians). This document specifies your preferences for medical care in the event you fall into one of three (3) conditions: i) you are terminally ill (by way of example: you have cancer and/or heart disease) b) you are persistently unconscious (namely a coma) and/or c) that you have an end state condition (such as dementia).
E. Beneficiary Designations. It is vitally important you go through your estate documents to ensure that your named beneficiaries are up to date. This is particularly critical with insurance policies, annuities and retirement plans.
Estate planning hasn’t have to be difficult. But it does mean at a minimum you have to pay attention to the basic components set forth above. Neglecting these basic components leads to a less than desirable outcome. If you have any questions or concerns about your estate plan do not hesitate in giving us a call at: 918-286-8001. We would be glad to help.