For many, talking about death makes them uncomfortable. However, not talking about it does not mean that one should avoid planning for it. Death is an inevitable part of life, which makes estate planning an essential step to take. Whether you choose to start the process in your youth, after you get married, following the birth of a child, when a divorce is finalized, after a diagnosis of a serious medical condition or when you enter retirement, it is vital to consider what your end of life plan is.
Planning for the end of life is not entirely about you. Yes, the process is designed to memorialize your wishes in writing; however, the process is really about your loved ones. A carefully drafted will can help ensure that your assets pass on to the heirs and beneficiaries you designate. Furthermore, an estate plan can address major decisions about what will occur if you are deemed incapacitated, at the time of your death and after your death.
While many things can go into an estate plan, the following six tips can be very beneficial ones to consider during the process. To begin, an executor should be named. This is the person who will take care of everything after your death. In other words, they will find all of your financial assets and communicate with all those named in your will. Next, in order to have a complete will, it is important to take an inventory of everything you own. This means things that have financial value and those that have sentimental value. All property, including pets, should be addressed in a will.
Third, it is vital to consider health care decisions. An advance directive can help designate your wishes at the end of your life and also names a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot. This is also where a medical proxy is important. This is the person who will make medical decisions for you are deemed incapacitated.
Next, fill out a living will. This will address important questions when it comes to your end of life care, such as whether you want to be resuscitated, receive pain medication or be hooked up to a ventilator. This essentially designated what treatments you will allow at the end of your life. Finally, one should consider the spiritual side of death, if they follow a faith or have spirituality. Designated what you want your funeral to look like and what will happen to your remains will ensure your wishes are fulfilled while also easing the process for your loved ones.
There is no correct way to draft an estate plan, but there are important component of an estate plan that should be addressed. Whether you are drafting an estate plan for the first time or seek to update a current one, it is important to be well informed of the process and what rights and options you might have.