Many people who do not enjoy vast wealth assume that estate planning is not something for them. They believe that it is for those who have assets valued in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. They question why they should spend the time or money to document their wishes after they are no longer around.
That assumption is, at best, misguided and could lead to more chaos and grief during a difficult time for their loved ones.
The importance of estate planning
Estate planning goes beyond wills and trusts, particularly with people living longer. Life expectancy continues to increase. Yet, at some point, physical and mental capacity may become an issue. Combined with health problems and accidents resulting in injuries, you may require help from a trusted loved one.
A health care directive has nothing to do with your current health status. It is an important document that designates a trusted loved one to make your health care decisions when you cannot. It keeps you in control of your future, covering a wide range of future scenarios for end-of-life care, organ donations, burial versus cremation, and other decisions.
Created when you have full capacity and effective when you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated, a durable power of attorney documents your wishes. You select and formally name a family member or trusted friend to make both financial and personal decisions on your behalf. That agent has the authority to manage your affairs that may include paying bills, signing contracts, or creating a trust fund.
Complex legal matters require a skilled and experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that your wishes are formalized in a binding legal document.