Your estate plan aims to care for those you love after your death. While part of this is leaving them with financial and personal items, another part relieves the burden of uncertainty about how you want things to unfold, even before you die.
A clear estate plan contains your expectations and wishes for your end-of-life decisions and the disposal of your debt and property. Take a look at some ways you can accomplish this in documents you may want to include.
Who should make decisions for you?
An estate plan should have a clear set of instructions for how you want end-of-life care managed. Whether you get there after a tragic accident or a long life, your loved ones will need to have your final wishes clear. Appoint someone to take charge of your medical and financial decisions when you do not have the physical or mental capacity to do so. Leave clear instructions in a medical directive or a financial power of attorney.
How will your family get cash after your death?
Your will travels through probate to ensure that things go according to your wishes. This may leave your family without their inheritance for many months. To combat this, you may want to consider utilizing one of more of the following:
- Co-owned accounts, whereby the survivor assumes total ownership
- Insurance policy or retirement accounts, since beneficiaries, get the funds directly
- Trust accounts to take property out of your name and into the trust for the benefit of those you designate
Finding ways to care for your family after your death and yourself beforehand is the goal of a complete estate plan.