For many people, having a solid estate plan in place offers a sense of confidence and minimizes late-night worries. Those who plan ahead do an important service for their loved ones at critical stages in their life.
While it is always beneficial to have legal paperwork in order, there are two major moments when an estate plan becomes crucial.
A Forbes article describes an estate plan as a collection of documents that, among other things, directs the treatment of a person’s assets upon death. These documents achieve several goals:
- Reduce legal expenses
- Minimize taxes
- Save time
- Lessen complications
The will is the centerpiece of many estate plans. It names an executor who oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s assets, and it could also direct the circumstances of the custody and care of minor children. One other vital document at this time is a personal property memorandum, which lists a person’s assets. Individuals should periodically review and update documents to ensure they reflect current law and personal changes.
Many people suffer a sudden incapacity that makes it impossible to convey their wishes. A US News and World Report article shows how estate planning alleviates the stress and uncertainty of this time. A medical power of attorney designates a trusted agent to make decisions for a person suffering from a stroke or in a coma. It clearly indicates a person who the doctors can legally speak with about medical choices.
Another form of advanced directive is the living will. This allows a person to communicate their wishes about the types of medical treatments they want to receive in different circumstances. As with other estate planning documents, it assures a person’s wishes remain in place during difficult times.