New Year’s Resolution: Set up your Estate Plan
Another year is here…and you haven’t made your estate plan yet? This is one resolution you can’t afford to put off, because of the financial and legal burdens placed on your family if it is ignored. The objective of an estate plan is to ensure your assets are protected, both while you are alive and after your death.
Estate tax laws are changing, so you need to work with a qualified estate-planning attorney to make certain your estate plan does what you want it to do. Estate taxes are always changing and if you already have an estate plan, you may need to rewrite or review it before the end of the year to reflect current tax exemptions and tax rates.
Estate Planning is not just for the elderly or the rich. In addition, estate planning is not just about what happens when you die. It is also planning in the event you become incapacitated. At the age of 18 you become an adult. Although you may not need a Will, you do need at the very least a Power of Attorney. If you want to make sure you and/or your family is protected if you become incapacitated, or die, you need to consider having the following documents in place:
- Last Will and Testament
- Specifies asset distribution upon your death
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
- Empowers you to decide who controls your assets if you are
- Incapacitated and not able to do so, or if you are planning a trip and not able to take care of your finances
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare
- Gives you control over who makes medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and not able to do so
- Directive to Physicians (Living Will)
- Enables you to decide which, if any, life-sustaining treatments you want in the event of a terminal or irreversible medical condition
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