You may have no desire to write out a will, let alone consider all the other elements of an estate plan. However, if you want to care for your loved ones and even yourself, you should dedicate real time to a viable plan.
There is more to an estate plan than simply who gets what. Take some time to consider a couple of basic elements before you conclude the planning process.
What goes into an estate plan?
Your estate plan should include an array of documents that provide instructions for your finances, personal property and protective measures for you. You should draft end-of-life documents, such as a living will and advance medical directive when you sit down to hammer out your estate. You should also decide who will serve as power of attorney for your money and medical care for the time in your life when you cannot perform these actions.
Do some items bypass probate?
Once you die, your estate passes through probate. This is a lengthy process, especially if you have a substantial estate. However, you can fashion a plan with assets outside the probate process. These fiduciary tools may help your heirs inherit faster versus waiting months for the court to sort things out:
- Insurance policies or other accounts with a beneficiary designation
- Co-owned property deeds or bank accounts
Crafting an estate plan that encompasses all of your needs takes time and someone who can help. You may want to find an ally in drafting and enacting these estate items when the time comes.