A common question that comes up whenever I present an estate planning seminar goes something like this: “Why do I need an estate plan, anyway? All I have is a few IRAs and my house. What’s the big deal?” The answer to this question goes to the heart of how we want to be remembered by those we love and how we want to protect their financial future.
Estate planning provides a way for you to enact your wishes, your way:
- Specify how your assets will be distributed and who will oversee this distribution
- Specify who will care for your minor children
- Minimize or eliminate the time and expense of probate administration
- Minimize or eliminate estate taxes
- Reduce the potential for conflicts among family members.
A properly drafted estate plan will include several important, indeed, vital documents to guide those charged with helping you now and distributing your assets later:
- Letter of instruction and personal care plan
- Funeral representative designation
- Revocable living trust (optional, but a really good idea if you want to avoid Probate Court)
- Durable power of attorney for financial matters
- Durable power of attorney for medical care
- Advance medical care directive
- Limited durable power of attorney to authorize medical records release.
Remember that an estate plan is not simply a “piece of paper.” It’s peace of mind. There is no better time than today to help secure your family’s financial future with a comprehensive estate plan.