Creating safety nets and directing your affairs after death are not always top of list. But in this season of togetherness with family and evaluating who and what is important in your life, estate planning really is a logical focus. If you have avoided futures planning, the new year can be a time to direct attention to your long-term affairs and consult an attorney about your estate planning needs
Above the Law just published a creative article about estate planning issues to talk about with relatives and friends on each of the eight nights of Chanukah. But whatever holiday you celebrate or if you do not observe a religious celebration, the new year of 2020 is an opportunity to establish a comprehensive estate plan (or do a thorough review of your existing plan) with an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer.
The article’s suggestions include these estate planning topics (and others):
- Will: This will allow you to direct who will receive your things, money and real estate. Especially if you do not want to leave a bequest to someone in your immediate family or wish certain property to go to particular persons, a will can direct this. If you have children under 18, this is your opportunity to name a guardian should you pass away before they are adults. You can also create trusts to hold money and property for the benefit of children or disabled family members and to name the trustees. An attorney can help you draft the will to carry out your wishes and see that it is appropriately witnessed and signed.
- Financial power of attorney: This document allows you to name a trusted person to act on your behalf in your financial and business affairs should you become incapacitated or be out of the country.
- Advance directives: These legal documents, which may include a medical durable power of attorney, a living will, medical orders for scope of treatment or a CPR directive, allow the person to direct medical decision making should they become medically unable to direct their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. The medical power of attorney allows the person to name someone to be their health care agent to make decisions on behalf of the person in case of incapacity.
Make 2020 the year you think seriously about these important personal issues that can profoundly impact you and those you love.