Who Needs an Estate Plan?
Do you own a car or have a banking account? These are considered assets and are considered an estate. No matter the size of estate everyone needs a plan.
Estate planning is not something people want to think about. The future can be a difficult thing to discuss and most of us are just trying to get through the present. However, the importance of having an estate plan in place cannot be understated. An estate plan is about securing the future for you and your family. It does not matter if you think you are too young or not wealthy enough. Estate planning is important for everyone. Secure a future you and your family can feel confident in.
I’m not rich, do I still need an Estate Plan?
Estate planning is not just for the rich. It is not just for the elderly. Estate planning is important for you, whether you are young or old, rich or poor, or somewhere in between. It is important that you create a plan which layouts your wishes, otherwise you are relying on the State of Oklahoma intestacy laws.
What does an Estate Plan include?
Last Will and Testament
One of the best-known elements of estate planning is a will. A will distributes your assets upon your death. Even if you think you have nothing of value, think about the things of personal value. Where do you want your treasured possessions to go? Is there anything that you own that might have special meaning to a loved one? Think hard on this. Personal items take on a whole new level of value to your loved ones after you pass. What once may have seemed to be an insignificant trinket could lead to family quarrels after you are gone.
Additionally, a will is extremely important if you have minor children. Apart from asset distribution, a will addresses who will care for your minor children. Without a will expressing your desire on this, a court will determine who will raise your children. Putting a will in place that names a guardian for your children should you pass away allows you to consider who you would want to care for your children after you are gone. Think about who is best situated and suited for such an important job. Memorialize your decision in the will and feel confident that your kids will always have the kind of care that you want for them.
Wills are a big part of estate planning, but there is also a great deal more that is put in place during the estate planning process. A living will is another vitally important legal instrument addressed in an estate plan. While different from a will, a living will is still important to an estate plan. A living will expresses your wishes regarding life-prolonging procedures in the event of your incapacitation. This kind of situation would be tough enough on your family. A living will lays out what type of life-prolonging medical treatment you want or do not want. Your family will be spared having to guess at your wishes regarding a matter of life or death. With a living will in place, your wishes will be followed and your family can focus on being there for you and each other during a difficult time.
Power of Attorney
Another valuable estate planning tool is a power of attorney. With a power of attorney, one person, the “principal,” grants authority to another, the “agent.” This is very valuable and a good thing for you to consider in the estate planning process. A general power of attorney allows you to grant the agent broad powers. Under a general power of attorney, the agent will take on all of the legal power that you yourself have. This is broad authority and should be carefully considered when selecting an agent.
A limited power of attorney gives the agent authority to perform a specific act on your behalf. Uses of a limited power of attorney include signing contracts, attending a real estate closing, and managing certain financial assets. This can be good to put in place if you are older and wish for someone else to manage your finances. It is also useful in times when you or your spouse are unable to attend a real estate closing.
A medical power of attorney allows the agent to assist you in health care decisions should you become incapacitated. It gives you the chance to select someone you really trust to make these kinds of important decisions on your behalf should the need arise.