National Estate Planning Awareness Week is Oct. 21-27, which is the perfect time to think about getting your financial and estate planning affairs in order. But first, what is an estate plan? Why do you need an estate plan? And why is estate planning important?
A solid estate planning package ensures that your wishes will be carried out the way you want them to be by the person you have chosen to accomplish that. Don’t leave these important decisions to chance – or to a probate judge who is unfamiliar with your wishes or family dynamics – which could happen if you don’t have a well-prepared estate plan.
A comprehensive estate plan often includes the following documents:
- A last will and testament that directs how you want your estate to be distributed, who you want to be in charge to administer it, and who you would like to appoint as your minor child’s guardian to raise him if you are incapacitated or pass away before he reaches age 18.
- A revocable trust will keep the administration of your estate private and out of the probate court. This process is handled by a trusted designated individual who will administer your estate when you die or become incapacitated. He or she provides you with greater flexibility in managing your estate and dealing with the special concerns raised by minor beneficiaries, financially-inexperienced spouses, children of first marriages in second marriages, special needs beneficiaries, and addiction-afflicted beneficiaries needing specialized provisions.
- A general durable power of attorney, which enables you to designate a trusted individual or entity to make financial decisions and other important life decisions for you if you need help due to aging (such as physical or mental incapacity), or other unexpected challenging situations (such as being pick-pocketed on vacation.)
- A durable power of attorney for health care that allows you to appoint a trusted family member or friend to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. This includes your end-of-life wishes.
The professionals in O'Reilly Rancilio’s Estate Planning and Administration Practice Group can help you make this happen at an affordable cost.