Estate planning is as essential for young people, as it is for the elderly. It is also just as essential for people who are just beginning their careers, as it is for high wealth individuals. It is never too early to begin planning your estate. Additionally, it's important to revisit and revise your estate plan every five years or so, as your life changes and assets are acquired and sold.
Estate planning allows you to decide to whom your possessions, assets, and even children will go, after your death. It is also an essential tool to quickly and efficiently transfer property with little legality and emotional distress. And, estate planning allows you to minimize the expense and burden of taxes and probate.
Most importantly, estate planning allows you to plan for more than just the distribution of assets, it allows you to pre-determine certain medical care decisions before it is too late. A proper estate plan provides many protections for your end of life directives, as well as a peace of mind for your entire family.
The Last Will and Testament is the most commonly referenced document (the "Will"). This document ensures that you can chose the person you'd like to serve as your Personal Representative and leaves that person with a directive of what to do in the case of your demise.
Along with a Will, it is advisable that individuals establish a Durable Power of Attorney (or, a "DPOA"). This document ensures that if you are in an incapacitated state, a person of your choosing will be granted the power to make your financial and living decisions.
Another document that should go with the Will and the DPOA, is a Heathcare Surrogate/HIPPA release. This document provides that a person of your choosing may make medical decisions on your behalf. This is different that the DPOA in that it grants only the healthcare decision making; whereas the DPOA grants powers to make all other decisions, besides the medical decisions.
A Living Will is another document that should be considered. This document directs your loved ones as to what you'd like for them to do in the event that you're on some type of life-support, without which, your body cannot function. This document provides a lot of peace of mind for your family, so that they are not tasked with making this decision during such a vulnerable time.
Lastly, a Pre-Need Guardian is also an essential document to have, if you have small children. This document, which could be just a clause in the Will, establishes a guardian for yourself or for your children, in the event that one is necessary. Guardianship is possible to establish through Court proceedings when necessary, but the process is very tumultuous and costly. Having a Pre-Need Guardian established, will save your family a lot of time, money, and heartache.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, there are various types of trusts available. Trusts are very specific to an individual's needs. Trusts are often costly to set up and maintain, but often provide a crucial financial or personal benefit. Trusts must be discussed in detail to determine if they are right for you.
The Law Offices of Rina Feld can provide appropriate estate planning documents to a variety of clients using cost-effective means. Our goal is to provide efficient and compassionate plans for estates and families of any size.