An estate plan should prepare you and your family for your death, as well as potential incapacity. In order to appropriately plan for both of these possibilities, you need a comprehensive estate plan, which would normally require more than just a last will and testament. So, when you ask, “what else do I need with my will,” it is time to understanding your options.
The true purpose of estate planning
As you can guess, estate planning involves more than simply drafting a will. It also involves more than just naming the people you want to inherit your property. Estate planning can also help you to minimize the estate taxes that will be assessed. More importantly, estate planning can also address the possibility that you may become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Including incapacity planning in your comprehensive estate plan will provide protection, not just for you, but also for your family, if you become unable to handle your own affairs.
What does the will provide?
A will is basically your written description of your assets and instructions regarding who you want to receive those assets. Without a will, your estate will be distributed based on the intestacy laws in your state. One disadvantage of a will is that your estate must go through probate, a court proceeding that can be time-consuming and expensive.
The benefits of a comprehensive estate plan
As basic as a will can be, it remains a necessary part of every estate plan. It is the best and most direct way to ensure that your money and personal property will be given to the beneficiaries you choose. Otherwise, a judge who does not know you or your family will make those decisions for you. Furthermore, there are many other legal issues that you may want to address in your estate plan.
What else do I need?
A comprehensive estate plan should include directions for your medical and personal care if you become disabled. It should also identify a guardian for your minor children, if you have any, including who will care for them and who will manage their inheritance. Another important consideration is insurance. This should include life insurance benefits, disability income insurance and long-term care insurance is also an important element of estate planning.
Planning for possible incapacity
Incapacity can be an unexpected consequence of life. You can become either physically or mentally incapacitated. In some cases, the incapacity may only be temporary. Nonetheless, planning for the possibility is still a good idea. You must consider the personal and health-related decisions that may need to be made on your behalf, as well as how your financial affairs will be handled, and by whom. Without a plan in place, a guardian will be appointed to assist you, while supervised by the court.
Advance Medical Directives
An Advance Medical Directive, also referred to as a Medical Power of Attorney in some states, gives you the ability to delegate medical decisions to someone you trust, if ever you become incapable of making those decisions for yourself. Planning for incapacity allows you to select who that person should be now, while you still have the ability to do so.
If you have questions regarding a wills, or any other estate planning needs, please contact Wilcox Attorneys, PA online or by calling us at (479) 443-0062.
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