Estate planning is often something many people put off, saying that they aren't ready to begin planning for the end of their life. It can be uncomfortable to face your own mortality, but ensuring you have an estate plan in place can provide you with more control over your future and provide peace of mind. An estate plan often consists of more than a simple will, which is why it is important to start your estate planning now.
WHAT GOES INTO AN ESTATE PLAN?
Many people are under the impression that an estate plan only dictates what happens to your possessions after you have passed away, but this isn't strictly true. Your estate plan can include a will, but you also may choose to create a trust to manage your estate, purchase life insurance and long-term disability policies, designate medical and financial powers of attorney, and create advanced directives for medical care.
PARTS OF AN ESTATE PLAN:
- Will: Your will can outline how you would like your possessions to be distributed. If you have minor children, you will also make provisions for their guardianship.
- Trust: Whether you have considerable assets or a more modest estate, a trust can provide more control over the distribution of your assets. With a trust, you can set restrictions on the distribution, such as the age your children receive their inheritance. A trust cannot dictate custody of minor children, however. A trust may also serve as the beneficiary of life insurance policies, to prevent the payout form going through probate and being heavily taxed.
- Medical Power of Attorney & Advanced Directives: If you are incapacitated and unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself, medical power of attorney allows a designated individual to act on your behalf. Advanced directives can guide your power of attorney and healthcare providers when making decisions. This document can be used to indicate what life-saving measures, if any, you want to be used.
- Financial Power of Attorney: Distinct from medical power of attorney, this designated person is responsible for your financial affairs while you are incapacitated. This person can be the same person as the medical power of attorney, but they do not have to be.
WHY SHOULD I MAKE AN ESTATE PLAN?
Your estate plan is a legally binding representation of your wishes, in the event that you are incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself. Illnesses, accidents, and even routine procedures can occur to anyone, at any age. Even if you are not permanently incapacitated, your estate plan can direct your loved ones until you are well enough to regain control of your affairs.
If you are permanently disabled or pass away, your estate plan should be able to guide your survivors. Estate plans are important for everyone, but they are especially crucial if you have minor children. Without a will, the court will decide who will be responsible for their care.
SPEAK WITH OUR RHODE ISLAND ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER – (401) 823-9200
Creating an estate plan may feel terribly complex, but with the proper support, it can be quite simple. With more than 125 years of collective experience, Inman & Tourgee is well-equipped to tackle your estate planning needs. Our knowledgeable and compassionate Rhode Island estate planning attorneys can provide you with personalized guidance through the process of planning your estate.
Schedule a complimentary initial case evaluation today. Contact our offices by calling (401) 823-9200.