Countless families do not address estate planning because they may feel they are too healthy, young, or just don’t have the time. While it can be difficult to anticipate what may occur if you pass on if you have a spouse and minor children who are dependent on your support, the time to address estate planning is now.
Estate planning does not have to mean that you are anticipating to die while your family is young, but preparing for what may happen is a responsible action that can demonstrate to your loved ones how dedicated you are to them. The following steps can help you begin, or an estate planning lawyer can help with the process.
Create a Will
Putting a will together is primarily about choosing guardians for your children, but it can also include asset designation. If you and your children’s other parent were no longer present to raise your kids, the designated guardian in your will would be the legal guardian appointed by the court.
It is important to outline your preferences because there is a chance that the court would be forced to select a guardian if you don’t appoint one. A family member is usually appointed, however, if you have a dear friend you’d rather select, the court would not be aware of this unless you make it known.
Purchase Life Insurance
Being prepared for financial tasks can be just as important as legal responsibilities. A good life insurance policy should replenish your income for several years if you were to suddenly pass away. Term life insurance is an inexpensive choice young families often choose because it can be fairly reasonable for those who are healthy and young.
Have a Living Will and Durable Powers of Attorney
Though these documents may not end up used if you are healthy and young, they are still needed. They can inform your family of your wishes if you are severely hurt in the future, which can spare loved ones from having to make tough decisions.
Adults must write a living will (advance medical directive) to outline your preferences for end-of-life medical care.
A medical durable power of attorney gives an individual you trust to fulfill your requests included in your living will, and it gives them the right to make healthcare decisions if you are unable to.
A financial durable power of attorney gives another control of any owned assets. If your spouse needs to gain access to your bank accounts to pay bills and they are not named the durable power of attorney, they would have to go through an entire court process and be given a court order to do so.
Name Account Beneficiaries
A final step is to complete the beneficiary form for any retirement account you’ve opened. This can be changed later, and also avoids court process to access the account. When a beneficiary is designated, the individuals you name can access the account balance.