An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While it might be true that estate planning isn’t “fun,” it’s very important. But what exactly is “estate planning” and isn’t it just for rich people? Estate planning is making sure your wishes are carried out during your life and after your death. It’s something everyone needs to do. Estate planning documents are most commonly: wills, living wills, and powers of attorney. You can read about these topics in depth on our blog but keep reading here for a brief description of each.
Wills are the most common type of estate planning document and are the ones most people know best. You can use a will to control who get your house, cars, personal property, liquid assets, and other assets after your death. A will can do much more than that: you can leave money to charity, you can provide for a beloved pet, you can direct aspects of the care of your children, and you can put conditions on gifts to make sure your assets are used wisely.
A “living will” is most commonly used to let others know your wishes in case you are incapacitated. Do you want to be on a ventilator or get a feeding tube? Do you want to be resuscitated if you should die in the hospital? When, and under what circumstances, do you want doctors to stop fighting an aggressive, terminal illness? By spelling out your wishes now, no one else has to make those heartbreaking decisions and you can be assured that your wishes are known.
A power of attorney allows you to give other people the power to help make your medical, financial, or day-to-day decisions. A power of attorney can be extremely broad and cover all aspects of your life or it can be narrowly-tailored to a single area. A power of attorney can begin immediately, or it can take effect after certain events that you choose happen.
Estate planning is something that everyone intends to do eventually but usually puts off. Unfortunately, when someone realizes they need one of these documents, it’s usually too late. This makes a stressful situation even worse. At Shipley & Swain, we help you look at the whole picture and decide what’s best for you and your family. Call us today and let us help you plan for your best future.