If you are like many other Americans at the moment, you are likely spending some time in isolation. While you are looking for ways to keep yourself occupied, now is a great time to either create or review your estate plan. Studies show that more than half of the people in the United States do not even have a will. Having a will as well as a few other valuable estate planning documents is one of the best ways to plan for what happens if you ever become incapacitated or pass away.
Make Sure You Have a Will
Some people think that only the wealthy have “estates,” but in reality, an estate refers to all of the assets that a person owns. A will, or a Last Will and Testament, is created to make sure that your assets are distributed to your loved ones following your death. To be found valid, wills must meet certain requirements. If a person’s assets meet certain monetary thresholds and are passed on through a will, the assets must pass through the probate process, which can be both costly and time-intensive.
While trusts are the best option for many people to pass on assets, some people also benefit by creating a trust. Not only do trusts avoid probate, but trusts also offer protection from creditors and make sure that assets are safe. If you have either of these estate planning documents, it might be a good idea to still review the terms of your will or trust.
Make Sure You Have a Healthcare and Financial Agent
If you suddenly become incapacitated and do not have documents appointing someone to make health and financial decisions for you, your loved ones can suddenly find themselves in a difficult situation. As you spend time in isolation, you should make sure that you have critical estate planning documents like a durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, and a living will.
A durable power of attorney remains effective even if an individual becomes incapacitated, a health care power of attorney appoints a person to act on your behalf and make healthcare decisions, and a living will make a person’s healthcare choices known in case that individual is left unable to vocalize choices about what type of medical care they would like to receive.
Review Beneficiary Designations
Besides passing assets on to loved ones through a will or trust, some accounts also utilize beneficiary designation pass on assets. Some accounts that rely on these designations include bank accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities. If you previously appointed beneficiaries on any of these accounts, it is a wise idea to periodically review who is designated to receive what assets.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer
While estate planning can be difficult to do, it is an essential part of planning. To achieve your estate planning goals, do not hesitate to contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.