It’s amazing how quickly 2021 has gone. 2020 seemed as though it would never end, with one terrible event after the other prolonging the year. 2021 has gone, by comparison, much more quickly for most people. Now, we have less than a month until the New Year.
As always, everyone is making New Year’s resolutions. A lot of these resolutions have to do with diet and exercise, while others involve curbing spending and other bad habits. Setting New Year’s resolutions is always a good thing, and we hope you stick with yours. We suggest adding a new resolution to the mix if you don’t have one. This resolution is simple: contact WFP and get an estate plan.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to set up an estate plan. This guide won’t be the be-all, end-all, but it will hopefully be helpful enough to set you on the right path.
What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan isn’t just one document, though the word “plan” is singular. This plan encompasses a whole host of documents that concern far more than just where your assets go after you die. Common documents in an estate plan include things like a healthcare directive, where you detail your wishes for medical care in the event that you fall ill and cannot communicate them to a doctor.
Others include things like a power of attorney, which is a specific individual you select to manage your affairs if you are too incapacitated to do so. Of course, you also have things like trusts and living wills, which concern your assets. An estate plan is the ultimate failsafe. If you don’t have one, your estate will revert to probate court, which will use your assets to pay off creditors. Your family will get very little, if not nothing, after you die.
How to Get an Estate Plan
It’s not hard to get an estate plan. All you have to do is contact an estate planning attorney and set up an appointment. The fees and length of time necessary depend on the complexity and value of your property. It’s best to spend the money to set up a good, solid estate plan than to try to cut corners. Trust us, it will be far more expensive to have to fix mistakes after the fact. As with anything legal-related, there are other considerations for you to think about when making your estate plan.
After you set up your estate plan, you’re not done, never to look at it again. You have to update it and review it. Take a look at your estate plan every three to five years or after a major life event. Make any necessary changes and remove anyone who shouldn’t be there. If you’re moving to a different state, you’ll need to ensure that your estate plan conforms to the new state’s laws.
Don’t DIY It
It might be tempting to do it yourself and write your own will. After all, you can follow instructions on LegalZoom, right? This is a terrible idea. The law has a million and one little technicalities and intricacies that are easy to miss when you’re not a trained, licensed lawyer. Making legal mistakes could lead to documents being contested or invalidated, something that will tie up your remaining family in court long after you pass away.
Talk to Family Members
One thing that people often forget when it comes to their estate plan is the importance of talking to their family members. Tell them ahead of time what you plan to do with your assets. If you have young children and want to appoint a guardian, discuss guardianship with the proposed guardian. Keeping an open, honest dialogue will go a long way to prevent any challenges, contests, or confusion after you die.
Hopefully, this guide has at least given you some inspiration to make you realize that an estate plan is the right choice. It’s the best way to give yourself and your loved ones protection and peace of mind, as far as your assets go.