There are several things you need to consider, when it comes to estate planning, explains WFMY.com in the recent article “A different kind of coronavirus protection: Wills & Power of Attorney documents.”
A financial power of attorney is first on the list of things to consider. This essential legal document gives a trusted agent the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, if you become incapacitated. A financial power of attorney can go into effect whenever you want. However, most people have their estate planning attorney draft the POA to go into effect, once the principal or the person who’s giving the authority can no longer make decisions for themselves.
In addition, if you become ill and fall into a coma, you need someone to be able to also make medical decisions. A health care power of attorney permits your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. You can also sign a living will, which can state your wishes about healthcare decisions, especially end of life decisions.
A will can state your decisions for the distribution of your assets when you die. However, your property will stay in your name until that occurs. Another option is a living trust, which places your property in a trust for the benefit of a charity, your loved ones, or both. A trust may distribute the property more efficiently.
While the terms in your will and trust are important, you should also have a discussion with your family and let them know what you’re thinking. This will help avoid hard feelings after you’re gone.
It’s important to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney and talk to the people you want to be your POA attorney-in-fact, executor of your will and your trustee. Talk to your attorney about what happens when one of these key persons included in your planning dies.
You should also think about your parents and if they have an estate plan. You should know what will happen, if they become ill and need care. What happens if they get Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia?
You should make certain that you and those you love, have legal estate planning documents in place prepared by an experienced estate planning attorney.
From there, review your plan every few years with your attorney, because things change.