Who Should Have a Will?
The easy answer is everyone. The better question is who should have an estate plan, not just a Will? The answer is still the same. The cliché phrase that everyone should have an estate plan regardless of age, health and wealth, is very true.
An estate plan is not for someone who is nearing retirement or someone who has been diagnosed with a chronic illness. An estate plan can operate as a reflection on a life plan for anyone regardless the stage of life they are in by making sure the proper documents are in place to accomplish that plan.
The three “basic” or foundational estate planning documents to get any client started are a Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy. A Will – or more formally referred to as a Last Will and Testament – allows a client to determine where assets titled in his or her name alone are distributed after his or her death. In addition, the client will decide how those assets are transferred and who is in charge of making sure things get done. Now that is a very simple way to explain to a Will, however, that explains the just of a Will. The specifics of a client’s plan will develop as they sit down with an estate planning attorney or other estate planning professional to formulate a more specific plan and options for a Will. The Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy are equally as important as they affect the management of property and personal needs, respectively, during your lifetime if you needed assistance or became incapacitated.
Sitting down with an estate planning practitioner – attorney, financial advisor, certified public accountant – is the first step to starting the conversation about an estate plan. Sitting down to reflect on assets, family relations and personal goals will allow anyone regardless where they are in life to get started with an appropriate estate plan and organize thoughts. Understanding these documents will be the first step to understanding how an estate plan can be useful for your life. Next topic, how these documents and your estate plan can avoid probate and help create ease for your loved ones in time of sickness or death.