Estate planning involves more than just creating a will—there are many different elements to consider to ensure your wishes are carried out as you intended. Proper estate planning not only protects your assets and can provide for your family after you are gone, but vital documents such as powers of attorney can also protect you in the event of incapacitation. Sitting down with an estate planning attorney and creating a plan can give you peace of mind and help to safeguard your assets and loved ones. Here are some common mistakes you might be making while creating your estate plan.
Assuming You Are Too Young To Need An Estate Plan
One of the most common misconceptions about creating an estate plan is that only older people need to have one in place. Accidents and illnesses happen, and just because you are young it does not mean that you are immune to suffering debilitating injury, illness, or death. If you have children, it is even more critical to create an estate plan, regardless of whether you have substantial assets. The last thing you want is for the court to decide who will care for your children. If you do not name guardians for minor children, they could end up with someone you would not have chosen.
Having adequate life insurance, a will, powers of attorney, trusts, and other estate planning tools in place is one of the best gifts you can give your family. A probate lawyer can also advise you on the most effective way to enable some of your assets to avoid going through probate, which can save your loved ones time and money.
Failing to Create Powers of Attorney and an Advance Directive
It may be unpleasant to think about, but you never know when something could happen that leaves you incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. These three vital documents can help to ensure that someone with your best interests at heart is responsible for making important decisions on your behalf:
- A Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal document that allows you to name an agent who has the authority to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do so yourself. Consulting a lawyer who deals with wills and trusts can help you make an objective decision about who the right person for the job may be.
- An Advance Directive, which is sometimes known as the Living Will, lays out your wishes for life-sustaining treatment like a feeding tube or ventilator. In the age of COVID-19, having an Advance Directive in place is more important than ever and can save your loved ones a lot of heartache and stress.
- A Power of Attorney for Finances gives you the opportunity to name an agent who will handle your financial affairs in the event of your incapacitation. This means they can pay bills, manage your assets and investments, buy and sell property, and perform other tasks related to your finances.
Planning your estate can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you need help updating your estate plan or you are starting from scratch, our full-service law firm in West Chester can assess your circumstances and advise you of the most effective course of action to protect your rights and interests.