What’s In Your Estate Plan?
We all know the commercial that asks the question: what’s in your wallet? Well, we want to know: what’s in your estate plan? While a wallet carries ID, bank cards and cash, an estate plan contains so much more. In addition to your liquid assets like checking and savings accounts, your estate also consists of your personal possessions, car, investments, life insurance, and real estate. Your estate plan determines what happens to these items when you pass away. It should also have directions for healthcare and end of life decisions in case of incapacitation or terminal illness. So what is an estate plan, exactly? There are five elements of a complete estate plan.
1. A Will
A will determines how the assets of the estate will be distributed. It also names a trustee or executor who will carry out the instructions of the will. If you have children, a will names a guardian to take care of them. Without a will, your estate will be divided by the probate court, and guardianship will be determined. The court decisions may not reflect your wishes at all.
Naming beneficiaries in an estate plan guarantees that your assets will be distributed to the people you want in the way that you want. It is important to remember that insurance policies and retirement accounts require you to name beneficiaries of those as well.
3. Financial Power of Attorney
Also known as a durable power of attorney, this element in an estate plan names a person to handle your financial affairs should you become unable to do so yourself. This person will have access to all your financial accounts and all decisions must be made for your benefit, not theirs.
4. Advance Directive
This is a power of attorney for healthcare, which includes a living will. It names a healthcare proxy who has the authority to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. It also states what care you are willing and unwilling to receive when you are unable to make your own medical decisions.
5. Living Trusts
A living trust enables you to hold your wealth for your beneficiaries while you maintain control over the assets. It has many tax advantages and can enable you heirs to avoid probate entirely.
What’s in your estate plan?
For more information, you can register to join our free webinar here. You will learn more about the importance of having a complete estate plan for your family’s future security. Call us anytime at Phelps LaClair (serving Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale) to receive a free, no-obligation consultation. If you have an existing estate plan, we can review it for you and determine if there are areas that need strengthening. And if you don’t, we are here to help you secure your future peace and the wellbeing of your family. Security is worth more than your wallet can contain.