The first time you create an estate plan, you may not know what you should expect. You may believe the only element is a will. However, this is not true.
A comprehensive estate plan should include several documents and directives, all aimed at honoring your wishes and simplifying disbursement after your death. Learn more about some of the factors you may want to consider when you sit down to create a complete estate plan.
Who do you want to care for your children?
As a parent, an estate plan becomes even more crucial. One of the factors you need to account for is who will care for them if you die before they reach 18. You will need to appoint a guardian in your will or a separate document. Absent this action, your children may wind up in limbo until the court decides who gets custody.
Do you have advanced directives on file?
An estate plan is not only for those you leave behind but also for what happens should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Advanced directives give instructions for how you want end-of-life care carried out. Having a document that expresses your wishes takes the burden off of your family when it comes to life support.
Is there a person to make decisions for you?
You may designate a power of attorney to make decisions for you if the time comes. This gives someone of your choosing access to your property and accounts to pay bills and manage your financial affairs. You may also nominate someone to become your medical power of attorney and make medical decisions when you cannot.
Having a clearer picture of an estate plan may help you get your final affairs in order well in advance of needing them.