Did you know that, this October, we recognize National Estate Planning Awareness Week? Estate planning can be an essential part of financial well-being no matter your age or the size of your estate. Many people think it is only necessary for the very wealthy, but that is just not true. Estate planning can be essential for anyone who wants to help ensure their wishes are respected in the event of temporary incapacitation or upon their death, no matter how much money they have.
This may be especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic. When everything is uncertain and life looks a lot different than it did in the time before Covid-19, having an estate plan in place can give you peace of mind, even if it is as simple as having a power of attorney created, writing a basic will, and staying up to date on your beneficiary designations.
Estate planning, however, is more than planning for the end of life. Lifetime documents that can protect you in the event of incapacity or sudden illness are important as well. A power of attorney empowers you to make your own choices as to who can act on your behalf and make decisions about your finances or other matters if you are unable to do so yourself. Healthcare planning documents ensure someone else may make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
It can be important to choose people you trust to fill both roles. You might even choose the same person. Many people designate their spouse or child, but, if you know your spouse would rather not handle medical decisions and your son or daughter is a doctor, it may make sense for your spouse to be your power of attorney, and your child to be your healthcare decision maker. The important part is that by planning ahead now, you get to make your own choice.
Creating a will can also be an important part of establishing a strong estate plan. Even if you do not have a large number of assets, having a will can be extraordinarily helpful in giving your loved ones detailed instructions when you pass away. Without a will, you will be deemed to have died intestate, meaning without a will. The state laws of intestacy will dictate how your estate is distributed, which may not be the way you would have wished.
There are so many potentially critical components to establishing a solid estate plan. If the Covid-19 pandemic has done anything, it has shown us all how unpredictable life can be. Life as we know it can change all too quickly. Put an estate plan in place to provide a solid foundation for you and your loved ones in an otherwise uncertain world. To learn more, our office is here to help. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment with Attorney Alan Hougum.