Estate Planning is a serious process that shouldn’t be taken lightly but done right. If you’re a senior or are close to one, whether they’re still working or already retired, they should do estate planning. Below are 5 tips to make the right choices for your estate planning.
1.Use an Up-to-Date Will
The first step in creating a will is to decide what you want it to accomplish. Do you want it to transfer assets after your death simply, or do you want the will to provide for the care of your dependents during their lifetimes? Do you want the assets distributed to one person or several people? Do you want any assets held in trust for a specific purpose? These are just some decisions that must be made before writing a will.
A well-written will contains specific instructions on how assets will be distributed upon death. If you have minor children, or if other people need care beyond their own resources, then you should consider using trusts for them as well. Also, suppose you have substantial assets which may require professional management after your death. In that case, a trust may be useful in providing that management without a court appointing someone else as guardian of those assets after your death.
2.Manage Your Assets
The first step in managing your assets is to list all of your possessions and keep them in an organized place. You should also include everything that you own in your estate plan. This includes cash, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, and other valuables. The more comprehensive you are about listing all of these items, the easier it will be for you and your family to determine if anything is missing after you pass away.
Once you have listed all your belongings, it’s time to decide how they should be managed during your lifetime and after death. You might consider setting up a trust or another legal entity that would manage all of these items after death. This step is so important because it allows you to ensure that none of these valuable items are lost or mismanaged during the process of probate or administration.
3.Use a Senior’s Trust
If you don’t have one, consider using a senior’s trust. A seniors trust is a special type of trust designed to protect your assets from claims by creditors or predators while still allowing access to the funds for yourself and your spouse, children, and grandchildren.
4.Use a Power of Attorney (POA)
An estate plan is often made up of documents that authorize others to decide on your behalf if you become incapacitated or die. A power of attorney (POA) gives one person the right to act on your behalf in legal matters, including financial matters.
5.Choose a Healthcare Advocate
If you have serious health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to have someone who can speak on your behalf when making healthcare decisions for you. This person should be someone who knows your wishes and beliefs about medical care and can make decisions based on them. If no one in your family can do this, consider hiring an attorney to act as your healthcare advocate.
The entire process required to set up an estate plan can be quite overwhelming. With the different options, laws, and forms involved, getting everything done promptly may seem like a long and difficult task. It’s all the more important that seniors get their affairs in order as soon as possible. Many people procrastinate because estate planning is typically associated with old age or something only necessary if you are wealthy. However, every individual has assets and beneficiaries that should be protected through proper planning despite his or her station in life.