Many people feel uncomfortable making plans for their own deaths. This is an understandable reaction, but it is also important for everyone to overcome it. Dying or becoming incapacitated without an estate plan can leave behind a frustrating legal and financial mess that your loved ones will have to clean up. It can also make it impossible for your loved ones to know what to do if you are on life support or similarly unable to make decisions.
If you need any assistance developing or modifying your estate plan, the Schlegel Law Group is here to help. Our experienced estate planning attorneys will help you carefully weigh all of your options and make solid decisions about your family’s future.
The Elements of an Estate Plan
The average estate plan will have at least three basic components:
- The will: Your will outlines what will happen to all of your assets after your death. Even if you do not think you have significant savings or possessions, you can still help your family immensely by organizing a will. Without one, your surviving relatives may become trapped in long-lasting and costly court proceedings while settling your estate.
- Power of attorney: This is a document that grants a person or organization the authority to make decisions for you when you cannot. This includes enforcing the terms of your will, making decisions about your healthcare, and handling your tax matters. You may appoint power of attorney to anyone you trust.
- A healthcare proxy, or living will: This is a document that spells out your wishes if you are unable to make decisions about your healthcare. Important decisions like whether your organs can be donated, or whether to leave you on life-support indefinitely, can be listed here. Without a living will, it may be very difficult for loved ones to enforce your wishes.
Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to add further components to your estate plan. For example, some people begin a trust to support their surviving dependents.