Many people think that a Last Will and Testament is all that is needed to take care of your estate. However, estate planning involves more than just the disposition of your property upon your death. Estate planning encompasses other contingencies as well.
For instance, what if you are incapacitated, due to illness or injury, and unable to make your own financial or health care decisions? You can execute documents that select who you would like to make those decisions on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to appoint someone to handle financial matters in the event you are unable to, and the document can be as broad or as specific as your estate requires.
A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document specific to your health care needs that allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable. Another health related document is a Living Will, which allows you to let your medical providers and loved ones know what choices you would make in the event you are in a persistent vegetative state with little or no hope for recovery.
Other ways of planning for your estate are life insurance policies and survivorship options for your retirement benefits or other assets. Unless you create a trust and designate the trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance proceeds, typically the life insurance proceeds flow outside of your Last Will and Testament, so the designation of the beneficiary is another way to plan your estate.
The same can be said for survivorship options for your retirement or pension benefits. Many plans allow you to select an option that allows for someone you designate to receive a portion of your benefits after your death. Financial accounts and property can sometimes be titled in a way that allows the asset to flow to joint owner with survivor rights, and this type of titling is another way to plan for the disposition of your assets.
When thinking about your estate planning, it is important to remember that more than a Last Will and Testament is needed to provide a complete plan for your estate.
If you’re looking for an attorney to help plan for your estate, schedule a case assessment with Held Law Firm attorney, Melanie Hogg. Melanie specializes in high-asset divorces and post-divorce estate planning. To schedule a case assessment, call (865) 685-4780