With growing older comes the responsibility of planning for the future. Estate planning might not be the first thing that comes to mind in the golden years, however, proper estate planning can provide your family with a gift when you’re no longer here with them. As you plan for your future, you are also preparing for theirs. If you want to leave your loved ones without the headache of unresolved financial issues, you should begin your estate planning process today. Read on to learn more about estate planning and everything you need to know about estate planning for seniors.
Understanding Estate Planning
As more time passes, estate planning becomes a more pressing concern. While estate planning can seem overwhelming, an estate planning attorney can help you seamlessly walk through the entire estate planning process. Working with an experienced attorney is beneficial for most seniors, as there are certain legal pieces that need to be put into place during estate planning. An estate planning attorney will be able to help you navigate these legal pieces, while also helping you to communicate how you want your finances and medical decisions to be handled towards the end of your life.
End-of-life discussions are never easy to have. However, estate planning attorneys are well versed in the topic and can make the whole process a bit easier. Estate planning is one of the best gifts you can give to your loved ones. Having all of your medical and financial logistics in place will take some of the burden off of your spouse or your children during their grieving process. Overall, estate planning is essential, and there are specific points to keep in mind during this process.
The Estate Planning Checklist
Everyone’s needs are a little different when it comes to estate planning. However, there are certain elements that all individuals should plan out. The following points should be incorporated into every estate plan.
Make Your Will
The first step on the estate planning checklist is to make your will. Making a will is a very straightforward process. Many individuals feel quite comfortable creating a will on their own. However, if you have a complicated family situation or unique assets, consulting with an estate planning lawyer would be in your best interest. Your will is essentially the document that designates which beneficiaries will receive which assets. If you have children under 18-years-of-age, you should also use your will to designate a guardian to these children should both you and their other parent pass away.
Create a Power of Attorney Document
Once you have a will drawn up, you should create a power of attorney document. In this document, you can appoint a trusted individual to oversee your healthcare and financial decisions should you ever be incapacitated. Failing to appoint a trusted friend or family member to manage these decisions could lead to a judge having to appoint someone to handle these matters on your behalf. To avoid any intrusive court proceedings into your personal life, it is in your best interest to create a power of attorney document.
Create an Advance Health Care Directive
Another important element to include in your estate planning is an advance health care directive. In this document, you can inform your family and physicians about your health care preferences and end-of-life treatment considerations. Your physician will be able to give you guidance on what issue you should address within the document. Creating this document will alleviate any pressure on your family when it comes to the end of life medical decisions, and give you the peace of mind that your final wishes will be carried out.
Write a Declaration of Incapacity
You can also include a declaration of incapacity in your estate planning documents. While a power of attorney document and an advance health care directive document discusses this issue, the declaration of incapacity document allows you to clearly define what “incapacity” means to you. The meaning of incapacity can vary among individuals. Therefore, creating this document allows you to outline your own criteria as to when your power of attorney should step in to take care of your affairs.
Check Your Beneficiary Designations
An important final step to take during your estate planning process is to check your beneficiary designations. Many people create a retirement plan or buy a life insurance policy, naming a beneficiary early on in their career. It is also typical that many people never update their beneficiaries after creating these accounts, even when a death or divorce of the original beneficiary occurs. As a senior, it is important to go through these accounts to ensure the beneficiary designations are up to date.
Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney Today
Senior estate planning can seem overwhelming. However, this is not a process you need to embark on alone. Consulting with an experienced attorney will make your estate planning journey much easier. Contact us today for a free consultation to begin your estate planning process today. We look forward to working with you and helping you get your estate in order.