If you’ve been looking into getting a will or a trust, you may have come across the term “estate plan.” This takes your will a step further to include everything that comprises your estate. It helps you make a determination about how your assets will be handled after your death, as well as instructions for your family members to handle your assets if you are unable to during life. What should you include in your estate plan? The following are four must-haves.
- Will or Trust
The main part of your estate plan is often the will or trust. This document will outline how you want your property distributed after you die. If you decide to implement a trust, your assets can sometimes be protected against estate taxes and other legal obstacles.
As you create your will, be true to your word. If you have already told one of your children he or she could have the family boat after your death, keep to that in your will. If you bequeathed your retirement account to your brother, don’t bequeath it to your sister in the will. These types of situations open the will up to be contested, which often leads to contention.
- Power of Attorney
You need to assign someone you trust to be your power of attorney. This person has power to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. For example, if you are mentally incompetent and your home needs to be sold, the power of attorney would decide what to do with the funds from the sale of the house. Without a power of attorney, the court may be left to decide these types of things.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
Different than a durable power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney has the power to make decisions about your healthcare while you are still alive. Be sure you choose someone you trust with your life, as that could quite possibly be the decision that needs to be made. Someone with similar religious beliefs might also be a good consideration.
If you have children who are minors at the time you create your estate plan, you’ll want to include guardianship designations for them. Without this designation, the state will be left to decide where your children will live after you die.
Contacting an Attorney to Get Started
Making an estate plan is an important part of taking care of yourself, your family and your assets. Contact an estate planning lawyer in Gilbert, AZ today to get started with your plan.
Thanks to Citadel Law Firm for their insight into estate planning and must haves for your plan.