Estate Planning is a hot topic for many people, and for good reason. Since estate planning involves living wills, a will detailing all of one’s assets, and even life insurance policies, it can be a difficult, confusing, and stressful process.
However, the difficulties should NOT deter you from planning for your future. Having a well-thought out estate plan and an organized list of who is in charge, who gets which assets, etc. will eliminate much heartache and drama in the event that something happens to you. Don’t you want to leave your family with peace and a stress-free time to grieve instead of a time wrought with disagreement and confusion over what you “would have wanted” if you were there?
The parts of an estate plan can vary from person to person, but vital elements include:
A living will. This walks your family (or whoever is listed) through what you would like done in the case that you can no longer make medical decisions for yourself. Basically, it protects your family/friends from having to make difficult decisions on your behalf (such as discontinuing medical care in the event that your prognosis is grim). Imagine how difficult it would be for someone you love to make that choice if you have not made your wishes known. Having a living will is important not only for your own benefit, but for the ones you care about as well.
A will (including all of your assets). This includes not only your financial assets, but also topics such as who your (minor) children would go to in the event that you pass. Again, having information like this written out in detail and managed by a person you choose will prevent a multitude of issues from arising. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that “word of mouth” and “mutual agreement” in your family will mean all goes as planned when you are no longer around. Having a legal document is binding and will ensure that your wishes are made known and your affairs are in order.
Life Insurance Details and Beneficiary. Life insurance is a huge part of your estate planning. Having an adequate life insurance policy provides not only for your funeral and burial costs (which could leave your family financially struggling otherwise) but it can also provide coverage for any outstanding debts left behind by you, and can offer temporary financial relief for the ones you care about until they can get on their feet. For those who are the main breadwinner in their family, making sure you have enough life insurance to cover basic needs of your spouse and children is of utmost importance. Equally important though is making sure that your life insurance is included in your estate plan, and that your beneficiary of the