When it comes to estate planning, a lot of people focus on their wealth and what they can do to effectively distribute it to their loved ones.
This makes sense. After all, you’ve acquired some wealth over time, and you’ll want to make sure that those you love and trust inherit those assets.
You should make sure you devote the time and attention necessary to ensure you have a solid asset distribution plan in place.
But there’s a lot more to the estate planning process. And if you overlook some of the finer points of the process, then you could be putting yourself, your assets, and your loved ones at risk.
That’s why this week on the blog we want to take a closer look at some of the other aspects of estate planning that you should be sure to address.
The lesser-known areas of estate planning
Sure, a will might give you some basic protection over how your estate will be distributed when the time comes, but you shouldn’t leave your estate plan there. Instead, you should also make sure you address these matters if they’re applicable to you:
- Health care directive: Even if you’re healthy now, there might come a time when you become unable to make decisions for yourself. This often happens when an individual suffers from mental decline, but it can also occur if you become incapacitated in some other fashion, such as if you fall into a coma. If you end up in that situation, who is going to make important medical decisions for you? By creating a health care directive, you can appoint someone to make those decisions for you, and you can even provide guidance as to the type of care that you’d like to receive.
- Power of attorney: This document is similar to a health care directive, but it can address other matters, primarily those relating to financial decisions. Given the amount of control exhibited by someone granted authority through a power of attorney, you should pick someone you trust to serve in this role.
- Guardianship: If you have children and you and your children’s other parent pass away, then there could be a battle brewing over who will care for your kids. If you want to avoid that from happening and retain control over who will care for your children, then you might want your estate plan to address who will serve as guardian if and when the time comes.
- Your intent: You can draft a letter of intent as part of your estate plan. This letter lays out your wishes and your justifications behind them. It can also leave instructions for your final arrangements. While you don’t have to create one of these documents, a lot of people find that it gives a sense of closure and control over how everything will play out.
Develop the estate plan that’s right for you
Your estate plan should be comprehensive so that your wishes for the future turn into reality. But that’s going to take some work on your end. You’ll need to educate yourself about the estate planning process and your options for creating the plan that’s best for you.
That can feel overwhelming at first, but once you delve into the matter you’ll probably find the process interesting and engaging.