Whether your “Honey” is your son, daughter, spouse, parent, or sibling, they all need an estate plan if they are at least 18 years of age. You’re still going to have to bake a cake and light the candles, but either paying for or suggesting that your loved one get an estate plan is a good idea.
Your Loved One Benefits
If your loved one has an estate plan, he or she will be in control ofhis or her person, health, finances, and family. Otherwise, the court or state law takes control.
You Benefit Too
When your loved ones have estate plans in place, you will rest easier and have greater peace of mind. In addition, if there is ever incapacity or death, your burden will be greatly reduced by having the right documents and legal authorization in place.
Documents Your Loved Ones Need
The specific documents and their individual content will depend upon your loved ones’ goals, concerns, and financial situation. However, these are the basic estate planning documents commonly used: will, revocable living trust, living will, HIPAA release, health care power of attorney, organ donation authorization, and financial power of attorney.
If your loved ones have minor children, they would also need a first responder authorization and a stand-by guardianship authorization. Most people don’t think of these situations, but if you are seriously injured or killed in a car accident or medical crisis and can’t care for your children, the police may come to your home to notify your family. If no one is authorized to care for your children, they will take them into protective custody (i.e. foster care).
The first responder authorization appoints trusted neighbors and friends to stay with your children until named guardians arrive. The guardians are named in the stand-by guardianship authorization (because your will isn’t effective until you’re dead).
If your loved ones don’t have an estate plan, or it’s not up-to-date, an estate planning consultation would make a fine birthday present.