October is National Estate Planning Awareness Month. Many people might miss such celebrations, but here at the Tomes Law Firm we honor it because Estate Planning is so important. You do need more than a simple will.
An Estate Plan is a set of personalized instructions and documents for handling your life’s affairs if something unexpected happens. It is more than just distributing your assets after death, but also involves documents if you become disabled, and planning to avoid or limit taxes and probate. The plan consists of the following key elements:
- The Will: This document lays down your wishes for asset distribution and nomination of guardians for your children upon your passing. Without a Will, your state’s intestacy laws take control, often overlooking individual needs and circumstances, potentially triggering a public probate process, and often making your children wards of the State while it is sorted out.
- Trusts: Trusts offer a solution to avoid probate. They ensure assets bypass probate by allowing the appointed Trustee to manage them without court involvement and allow for privacy by avoiding the probate process. Trusts also allow for flexible tax planning .
- Property Power of Attorney: This document lets you appoint someone to make financial decisions on your behalf should you become disabled. It ensures that someone you trust can manage your financial affairs in case you’re unable to do so, like making bank deposits and paying bills.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney: This allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. It ensures your healthcare decisions align with your wishes when you can’t communicate them.
- Living Will: A Living Will or Health Care Directive expresses your end-of-life decisions. It ensures your end-of-life choices will be honored.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Authorization: This document authorizes individuals to access or receive your medical records which may be needed in your continuing treatment if you are able to obtain the records yourself so your doctors can know about prior medical issues or problems.
Estate Planning Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing importance of estate planning. No one ever wants to think about death or disability but planning ahead of time saves a lot of stress on your loved ones in their time of sadness and grief. Estate Planning Awareness Month also serves as a reminder to review and update your documents yearly.
If you have questions about your Estate Plan need to start one, the Estate Planning lawyers at Tomes Law Firm are here to assist you. Your estate plan deserves attention and care, just like any other aspect of your life.
Don’t let this October pass by without considering your Estate Plan. It’s your opportunity to protect your future and the well-being of your loved ones. Schedule your confidential free strategy session by calling us today at 732-333-0681