Estate planning can be important no matter what your age and asset level. Most people begin to plan their estate when they are older and have more assets to consider, but younger people with less in the way of financial solvency can also benefit from planning for their estate. They can make changes as they age and their life takes different turns, but early planning can be a big benefit in a number of ways. Planning an estate isn't always just about finances, as there are other factors to consider.
Wills and Living Wills
A Last Will and Testament, more commonly just called a Will, is the document that spells out what you would like to have done with your possessions when you pass away. You can give things to family members and friends, support a charity, or even give money to your pet or a stranger. It's your will, and your choice, as long as everything you're doing is handled legally. A Living Will is different, and is used when you have a terminal illness and/or can no longer make your own health care decisions. You can direct health care personnel as to what you want done.
Should You Create a Trust?
If you have significant assets and you want to keep them out of probate, you can create a trust. That will allow the assets to be distributed through the trust, without the probate process, which can avoid a lot of time and hassle for the people who you've willed your assets to. Not everyone needs a trust, and they aren't the best choice for every situation, so it's important to get good legal advice when you're considering this option.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney gives someone else the right to act on your behalf. These documents can be limited in scope or duration, or they can be more all-inclusive and long-standing. There are also options for specific events, such as a separate power of attorney for health care. If you have one of these and can no longer make your own health care decisions, the person who has your power of attorney can make those decisions for you.
By working closely with an attorney, you can get the information you need to plan your estate the right way. That way you can create a Will, a Living Will, and a trust if necessary, along with any power of attorney documents you may need. Once you have went through all of those steps, you'll have peace of mind and know that your family is protected.