An Estate Plan Prepares for More Than Just Your Death

by | Aug 16, 2018

By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
August 16, 2018

An Estate Plan Prepares for More Than Just Your Death

When it comes to legal terms, “estate planning” may be among the most misunderstood.

The term is shrouded in mystery, myths, and misconceptions. Too often, Americans assume estate planning is for the wealthy or the old. But perhaps the most common misconception regarding estate planning is that it is exclusively about planning for your death.  

To be sure, a large part of estate planning involves designating how your assets will be distributed after your passing. However, a good estate plan also helps prepare for your future life and the lives of your children.

Here are three ways your estate plan can impact the lives of you and your family:

Accident Preparation

Following a severe accident or illness, you may not be in a position to manage your finances or care for your loved ones.

Without a thorough estate plan in this situation, a court may appoint someone to handle these sensitive matters. Or you may have no other option but to attempt to do it yourself while also managing your recovery.

Alternatively, by designating a preneed guardian in your estate plan, you can decide who you would like to care for your affairs and family should you become incapacitated.

And by giving power of attorney to a trusted loved one, they will have the authority to manage important matters, such as your finances, when you are technically able to handle them yourself but really shouldn’t.

Medical Wishes

Besides caring for your finances and your children, an estate plan can ensure your wishes about your medical care are carried out, even in the event that you cannot communicate them.

You can appoint someone you trust to make important decisions on your behalf by creating a durable and healthcare power of attorney. This person will be able to learn your status and decide what treatments you do and don’t receive.

You can also express your wishes regarding specific medical treatments in an advanced healthcare directive, also known as a living will. This document can share what treatments you do and do not want, as well as share your preferences about issues such as pain management and organ donation.

Caring for Your Loved Ones

Estate planning plays a major role in protecting the quality of life for your spouse and children after you pass. It handles how your assets are distributed to your surviving family members and who will care for your minor offspring.

Without a proper estate plan, it will be up to the courts to decide how your assets are distributed and who will raise your children.

Additionally, a good estate plan can often help your loved ones gain access to much-needed assets quickly without waiting for the length probate process.

Prepare Your Estate Plan Today

Estate planning is about so much more than preparing for your death. It’s about ensuring your wishes and affairs are protected in the event of accidents and illnesses. It’s about safeguarding the future finances and wellbeing of your heirs.

You shouldn’t leave the lives of you and your family unprotected. Contact an estate planning attorney to make sure your estate plan is comprehensive, strong, and protective of your wishes and values.