Creating a comprehensive estate plan helps ensure that your wishes come to fruition after your death. It also helps you maintain control over certain affairs in the event that you suffer incapacitation.
In Louisiana, an estate plan should include several key components that address your financial, medical and personal affairs.
Last will and testament
A will is a fundamental element of an estate plan. It allows you to specify where you want your assets to go when you die. In your will, you can also name an executor to oversee the distribution of your estate and a guardian for any minor children you may have.
Living will and health care proxy
A living will outlines your preferences for medical treatment if you become unable to make decisions due to illness or injury. Additionally, designating a health care proxy authorizes someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Financial powers of attorney
An individual to whom you grant power of attorney gains the ability to manage your financial affairs if you become unable to do so. This includes handling your bank accounts, investments and other financial matters.
Revocable living trust
While not mandatory, a revocable living trust can be a useful tool in estate planning. It enables you to transfer your assets into a trust, which can simplify the distribution process and potentially avoid the probate court process, which can be time-consuming and costly.
Review and update beneficiary designations on financial accounts, retirement plans and life insurance policies. These designations take precedence over your will, so it is important to make sure they reflect your current intentions.
While estate planning serves many important purposes, CNBC reports that less than 67% of Americans currently have an estate plan in place.