There is a widely believed misconception that you only need to worry about an estate plan when you are older or when you have a lot of wealth. Throughout your life, you will have different requirements for your estate plan.
However, U.S. News discusses which part of an estate plan most people need to consider. A few key documents are critical to expressing your wishes to your family if something happens to you.
Health care proxy
A health care proxy or medical power of attorney can make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot. For instance, if you are in an accident and lose consciousness, you would have a designated person making decisions for you. He or she should be a person you trust to honor your wishes.
A durable power of attorney
A durable power of attorney can make financial decisions if something were to happen to you. For instance, if you have adult children, you can give them the legal authority to help you with your finances. A durable power of attorney can also help in the case of an emergency if someone else needs to make the financial decisions for you.
If you have children, you must take into consideration what would happen if something were to happen to you or their other parent. While a difficult discussion to have, you need to appoint someone. It is better to have someone in mind than to let the state dictate who has custody of your children. When choosing a guardian, consider whether the person’s values align with yours, their child-rearing skills and where they reside.