Many people fall in love with the fall season, as the scents and colors change, and there’s more of a chill in the air. Fall is the season when holidays begin, when we start thinking even more about our family, friends, and loved ones. Despite what people may think, you don’t have to have millions of dollars in the bank or own several properties in order to benefit from having an estate plan. As you get older, it’s important to have a plan set so that your legacy is left with those you cherish most.
If you don’t write an estate plan, then your assets may be handled by the courts based on state intestacy laws, which can cause further stress and frustration for your grieving loved ones.
Now is the time to create or revise your living trust, which allows you to manage your assets while alive and then have them distributed appropriately after your passing. You will have to appoint a successor trustee, such as an adult child or reliable relative, who will take over the trust upon your death. You can also change the terms of the trust distribution, so you can pick when your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance. Other requests and instructions can be stated within your living trust.
As you get older, your life will continue to change. It may seem like not so long ago your children were minors, and you had to choose guardians for them. Now that your kids are grown, you will have to update your will to remove provisions about guardianships and maybe consider adding adult children as executors. It is recommended that those with estate plans review them every few years, or as life circumstances change.
A living will is a legal document that describes wishes for the kind of medical care you would, or would not, like to receive in order to keep you alive. This entails preferences for other medical-related decisions, such as organ donation or pain management. The difference between a living will and standard will, is the timing in which it is executed. A living will specifically has instructions for what you want to happen in the event you became incapacitated.
Durable Power of Attorney
If you were to become unable to make sound decisions due to being incapacitated, your durable power of attorney will handle this instead. Your durable power of attorney must be someone you trust to have your best of interests in mind, who truly cares for you and your family. This person will handle legal, financial, and business decisions if you stopped being able to.
This fall, consider updating your estate plan and talk to those closest to you about what you’ve written, so they have an idea of what to expect in the future. It’s never too soon to start drafting or revising an estate plan, to ensure those who love you the most will receive a piece of your legacy for future generations to come.