estate planning attorney
Every complete estate plan includes a will, but a will in itself is not a complete estate plan. In order to plan for every contingency, your estate plan should include documents that go beyond a will. Overall, your plan should be tailored to your individual needs and unique situation, but here are some important things to consider during the course of your planning.
A will only takes effect when you die, so it is not much help if you become mentally incapacitated and are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Your estate plan should include instructions about how your care and finances are to be handled in this event. Two documents are especially helpful in this regard. One is a living will, which sets forth your health care directives regarding end-of-life matters, and the other is a power of attorney, which gives someone else the authority to make decisions regarding your finances and/or health care should matters arise that are not addressed in your living will.
2. Care of Minor Children
If you have young children, you need to ensure that they are provided for financially in the event of your death. There are two ways to accomplish this, and either or both can be included in your estate plan. One is to take out a life insurance policy, and the other is to put assets aside for your children in trust.
However, it is not only the children’s financial wellbeing that you need to be concerned with. If your children are still minors when you pass away, you will need to name a guardian for them to provide care on a day-to-day basis, as well as to make decisions on their behalf. Before you name a guardian in your will, you should discuss your decision with the individual and make sure he or she is up to the responsibility.
3. Funeral Arrangements
If you have specific requests about the funeral proceedings, you should include them in your estate plan in a separate document from your will. This is because the funeral usually takes place before the will is read, making your funeral wishes moot.
4. Review and Revision
Since the future is uncertain, it is a good idea to start estate planning when you are young. However, your circumstances can change in unexpected ways over the course of your life, and provisions in your initial estate plan may no longer apply. It is important to review your will and other documents occasionally and make sure that they are still relevant to your situation and accurately represent your wishes.
Estate planning can be a complicated process. An estate planning attorney in St. Peters, Missouri may be able to help simplify it. Contact a law firm for more information.
Thanks to the Legacy Law Center for their insight into estate planning and four things to consider.