Estate and Incapacity Planning is More than just a Will
Many people mistakenly think that estate planning only involves the writing of a will or a trust. Estate planning, however, can also involve financial, tax, medical and business planning. Wills or Trusts are part of the planning process, but you will also need other documents as well to fully address your estate planning and incapacity planning needs. Planning involves a willingness to capture the opportunity while you are alive and well to plan for your own future.
Estate planning also includes the following:
- How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your lifetime if you ever become unable to manage them yourself.
- Whether a Living Trust is advisable for you.
- The best way to handle your homestead property.
- When and under what circumstances it makes sense to distribute your assets during your lifetime.
- How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death.
- How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.
- Who will be “in charge” of your bill paying and decision making if you are ill, incapacitated, or simply out of the country.
- How you would like your “end of life” experience to be handled.
Planning for Young Adults
Although you may not yet be married or have children, you also have planning needs. Once you reach the age of 18, your parents cannot speak on your behalf or make medical decisions for you in emergency situations unless you have given them the authority to do so through a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Surrogate. As young adults, you may be involved in a car accident or sustain an injury or illness that leaves you without the ability to manage your own affairs. You have the opportunity to name an agent (such as parent, sibling, or friend) to act on your behalf in the event of these unforeseen life events.