Many people believe that having an estate plan simply means drafting a will or a trust. However, there is much more to include in your estate planning to make certain all of your assets are transferred seamlessly to your heirs upon your death. A successful estate plan also includes provisions allowing your family members to access or control your assets should you become unable to do so yourself. I learned from a great estate planning Attorney, Elizabeth Krivatsy, Esq. that a will or testament works well when you are dead but does not do anything to make decisions or solve situations about your care while still alive, dealing with children, and sometimes complicated family dynamics, diversified assets, and more. Counsel Krivatsy said: When approaching estate planning, she says:”…The most important part of my work is advance health care planning – helping my clients clearly express their wishes for end-of-life care so that their loved ones are fully informed and authorized to act for them under difficult and highly emotional conditions…” Yes, indeed, there is the health aspect of the planning and of course the financial, as well.
When it comes to the financial aspect of estate planning, there are myths and misconceptions, one of them being that estate planning is only for the ultra-wealthy. The truth is far from that. Estate planning is the process of deciding what happens to your money (any amount), belongings, property, and other assets after you die. It can also appoint someone to make critical health care and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Creating a will is the most important part of estate planning, but other documents are also involved (Financial power of attorney, limited estate taxes, name beneficiaries to inherit assets, setting up funeral arrangements, etc).
Another important piece of the planning for a better living is retirement planning. Retirement planning involves setting goals for your retirement income, then creating a strategy and taking concrete steps to achieve them. It requires you to identify your sources of income, set up a savings plan, estimate your expenses during retirement, and plan for unforeseen events. Simple to digest there is this guide, edited by the RetireGuide people, emphasizing the importance to plan ahead and make your wishes to age, to be cared for, clear, and executable. Click here to read the guide.
Last but not least, as stated on Investopedia:
- “Estate planning is not only for the wealthy—everybody can benefit from ensuring their assets and finances are properly taken care of after their death…”
- Estate planning also involves giving permission to family members or an attorney to carry out your wishes if you become incapacitated while still alive ( a very important matter when caring for aging spouses or parents, especially on same-sex couples who have not attained yet legal status and institutions will not recognize their right to decide for their partners). Food for thought!