5 Essential Estate Planning Tips

Many individuals think that estate planning is only for the elderly; something to consider only after you have hit the golden years of retirement.  However, the truth of the matter is that an estate plan is something that should be in place no matter what stage of life you are in. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s or even 60s; you should plan out your estate just in case an emergency happens. There are more things to estate planning than just a will such as trusts, health care directives, and power of attorney. These legal documents will ensure that your wishes are known at the end of your life through your passing. Here are some very basic tips on estate planning:

  1. Living Wills

Life is uncertain, so if you aren’t capable of making decisions for yourself, a living will is a must. It’s a legal document that sets forth what you want in the event that you are in a coma or vegetative state. It will detail instructions and decisions for yourself when you are still alive. For reasons of legitimacy it is important to have an attorney assist in drawing up a living will for you.  This will help to ensure that your desires are followed.


  1. Draw Up a Will or Trust

Besides a living will, you should also create a will, trust or both.  These are documents that sets out your wishes after you die for your family and loved ones. This details everything from personal items to financial assets and what you’d like to do with them.  An estate planning attorney should be hired to help minimize tax liabilities to your heirs upon your passing.  A will is a complex document that spells out in detail what your desires are.  It should be updated throughout the year as major life changes occur that need to be taken into account.


  1. Appoint a Power of Attorney (POA)

If anything happens to you, it’s important to have someone you trust make decisions for you they will be the power of attorney over your estate. This person will distribute your assets as you have stated within your estate plan.  A medical power of attorney is an individual that you have appointed to make decisions regarding your medical care.   You can have one person for both positions or split the duties between two people that you know will make sure your wishes are met.


  1. Designate Guardians

If you have kids under 18 years old, then you’ll have to figure out who will take care of them when you no longer can. If your spouse or partner is still alive, guardianship will automatically go to them.  Before you make the decision, you should ask whoever you are thinking about making a guardian to see how they feel about such a responsibility. If they do not want this responsibility it is in your children’s best interest to make alternative arrangements.

The best advice that you can be given regrading your estate is to meet with an attorney that will serve as a personal representative of your legal desires.  Creating an estate plan is simple with the right guidance and with regular maintenance will stay current to ensure your loved ones are not burdened by probate upon your passing.

Learn more about attorney Sean J. Nichols and the legal services he provides for clients including: estate planning, elder law issues, Medicaid planning, elder care, probate law, guardianships, and power of attorney (POA) at www.seanjnichols.com.  To contact the offices of Sean J Nichols, call 734.386.0224 today.


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