Estate planning primarily involves what happens to your assets after you pass away. What if you become too ill to manage your own life? That is also part of estate planning. With COVID-19 on the forefront of everyone’s mind in 2020 and going into 2021, estate planning should be as well.
Durable Power of Attorney
This lets you name someone, who can take over if you can no longer manage your own affairs. You can authorize your agent to take care of bill paying, living arrangements, investments, and other aspects of everyday life. If you have investments at large banks, they may ask you to complete their forms as well, to enable your agent to speak on your behalf.
Health Care Proxy
This appoints a person to make health care decisions for you if you cannot. Regardless of your age, it can become essential if you are in a car accident or need someone to answer questions on your behalf during routine surgery. Every time you enter a hospital for care or treatment, you will be asked to sign a proxy – but you may have your own with you at all times.
Last Will and Testament
You can stipulate who will inherit your assets and you name an executor who orchestrates the final will of a person’s life. If you have joint accounts, those assets do not pass under your will. The will only takes care of assets for which there is no other legally binding direction. For example, if you own a house in your own name alone, it will pass under your will. But if you own your home jointly with your partner, the survivor inherits the house. It doesn’t pass under your will. A will can also create a trust to take effect when you are no longer alive.
Protect Your Children
You expect to be around for the entirety of your children’s childhood years. If you pass away without a plan and your children are under 18, the courts will have to step in and appoint a legal guardian who may not exactly be your first choice. When you plan your estate and set up your will, you will be the one to decide on how to arrange a secure future for your children if the unexpected does happen.
Protect Your Property from Unintended Beneficiaries
A main part of your estate plan involves making sure that, when you pass on, all your physical assets go to exactly who you want them to go to; the people you choose to receive these assets are known as your beneficiaries.
Helping You Plan for Your Family and Your Future
There is no better time than right now to start planning your estate if you haven’t done so already. At Davis, Ermis, and Roberts, our estate planning attorneys are here to guide you through the process seamlessly and answer all of your questions along the way. We will make sure that you have everything you need to feel prepared for the future.