- Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney: It is important to have a Medical Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney in place that states your wishes regarding life support, as well as names someone to take care of your financial decisions if you become incapacitated. Everyone over 18 years of age needs a Medical Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney in place. Parents and spouses cannot automatically act for you.
- Will/trust or named beneficiaries: A prepared will or trust or named beneficiaries on all of your assets will simplify things for your family after your passing. A will requires probate and simply having a will only directs the courts how you want your property distributed after you pass away. It does not avoid the probate (court) process, which is lengthy and expensive. Setting up a trust or in the alternative, naming beneficiaries on everything you own, will avoid this and be helpful for your family after you pass away.
- Funding your trust: After you have a trust prepared, you need to “fund” it, which means to transfer the titles of all of your assets into the name of your trust. If you leave assets out of the trust name and in your individual names when you pass away, those assets will be subject to probate as described above.
- Pre-pay funeral/burial/cremation expenses and let your loved ones know. This saves families a lot of grief. Because decisions regarding funeral, memorial service, cremation/burial have to be made very soon after your death, arranging all of this ahead of time can take a lot of stress and worry off of your family by having to guess what you wanted.
- Review your documents: Regularly review your documents with an estate planning attorney to ensure your documents and/or beneficiary designations are exactly how you want them. Life and relationships change, kids grow older and your estate plan may or may not have to change as time changes. Your wishes 10 years ago when you first had them prepared may not be your wishes now.
DISCLAIMER: This is not intended to be legal advice, but for informational purposes only. There is no attorney/client relationship that can be inferred from this information. If you have specific questions regarding your case, feel free to contact Borg Law Group.