Accidents and illnesses are rarely predictable, but can leave a person at any age unable to provide for their family. An Estate Plan can safeguard your loved ones from the hardship of life without you and is the most responsible way to show you care.
An Estate Plan can be very minimal in the beginning, and then gradually become more detailed as your family and finances grow. Here are a few things to consider when getting started…
Wills and Living Wills
There are multiple programs to create wills, but it is important to enlist the help of an attorney. A will defines what you want to happen with your property and children. A living will, or advance directive, is used to make your wishes known about life-prolonging medical treatments in the event you are not able to speak for yourself.
It’s good to have both a will and a living will set in place to make things easier for your family.
Executor or Trustee
An executor or trustee will save your family from the stress of handling financial affairs upon your passing. This person should be trustworthy, willing, qualified, and respectful of your desires.
It’s important to specify the distribution of your estate. Law distributes finances equally between a surviving spouse and children without a will. Most often people would prefer to pass everything onto a surviving spouse who will care for the children or to the children based on unequal, specific needs.
It’s hard to imagine not being there for your children, but you can rest easier at night knowing that your children would have a family situation you trust for them to enter into if you and your spouse were to pass away. If you don’t clarify your wishes, the court will grant guardianship to whomever it thinks best.
You can either appoint someone to oversee the estate you pass to your children or let the judge appoint a stranger to do it who is paid from the inheritance fund. Establishing a trust allows someone you trust personally to manage your children’s inheritance and allows your children to use the money when necessary instead of not being allowed an equal share of it until they turn 18.
Insurance is cheaper the younger you are and if you get it while young, your good health will lock you into insurability. Having insurance will replace your earnings for the family for a few years, allow access to cash quickly, and often sets the foundation for college funds.
Life insurance does not cover disability. Disability income insurance allows medical powers of attorney to give someone the legal right to make health decisions for you if both you and your spouse are unable.
If you have a family it’s a good time to start planning, especially while children are young enough to deeply depend on you. Remember that estate planning can be one easy step at a time.
If you’re ready to start preparing for the what-if’s in life,
contact the law offices of Barbara Sherer to schedule an appointment.