One thing that presidents have (mostly) been is responsible. Presidents can teach us a lot. They are usually hard-working, dedicated individuals. Despite our political differences, much can be learned from these leaders of the free world. That includes tenacity, perseverance, and responsibility. You might be thinking of your favorite president now. As you can imagine, there were probably a lot of sides to them that the world didn’t see. But they kept a dedicated cabinet around them that helped them make important decisions. Presidents have to be prepared for anything, and so do we.
Here are ways that you can emulate responsibility (like your favorite president) when it comes to your estate plan:
If you have kids, there are two major areas in which you can show responsibility. These are guardianship and college savings. Of course, the whole estate plan itself goes towards helping your kids, but these two tools are most specific to them.
Guardianship. In your estate plan, you can include information about guardianship and who you want to take care of your children in case something happens to you. God forbid anything does, but you need to be prepared for anything, just in case. Choose the guardian that will be most responsible and nurturing day-in and day-out. Check with the proposed guardian first to make sure that they are okay with being named for guardianship.
College savings. What you may not realize is that the IRS offers a tax-advantaged savings plan for you if you want to save for your kids’ college. You can choose a savings account, or you can pay the whole of tuition as a credit to be applied later. This plan, called a 529 plan, will help you provide for your child’s future. Each state has its own rules, so make sure that you consult an estate planner to walk you through the process.
Your home and personal property is important to you, of course, but have you thought of what you will do when you pass on? You want to ensure that your assets are transferred to people you know will take care of them. Or, perhaps you want the assets liquidated upon your death and the proceeds distributed. A trust is often the best way to accomplish this asset protection.
If you become sick and are in the hospital, you may not have the capacity to make your own decisions. Yet, at the same time, you might have specific wishes for your care. In order to communicate those instructions after you’ve become incapacitated, you should have a healthcare directive. This document contains your instructions to doctors, hospitals, nurses, hospice, and others who can ensure that you get the care you need and want.
Similarly, you might not be able to give instructions about your finances. This is why you should appoint a power of attorney to make these decisions for you. A POA is a trusted official that you designate to take care of your money and allocate your resources appropriately. This is an extremely important position. When appointing your POA, think long and hard about who will best carry this out.
Above all, responsible estate planning is about your legacy. You don’t want to stick your family in probate court for month after month. Executing a well-planned estate plan will ensure that your family is able to quickly and conveniently wrap up your affairs.
The list above includes things that are important to everyone. They matter greatly when it comes to your quality of life. Make good decisions when it comes to your future and protect the list above tenaciously. Responsibility is one of the most important traits when it comes to your estate plan.