You probably know that it’s important to have a will in place in order to ease the legal ownership of your assets to your heirs and prevent conflicts. Maybe you’ve even had your will prepared.
But a will doesn’t equal a fully-functional estate plan. A will is probably only part of what you need. Here are some other things you should consider doing:
- Adding a health care power of attorney. There’s always a chance that you’ll be incapacitated at some point before you die. Who would you want to make your medical decisions when you can’t make them yourself?
- Writing a living will. Even if you clearly express your opinions about your end-of-life care, you can’t anticipate everything. A living will gives better insight into your preferences and can erase ambiguity.
- Naming a financial power of attorney. If you couldn’t direct your own financial affairs, who would step up and pay your bills and make sure that your accounts are all safe? Do they have the legal authority to do so?
- Checking your beneficiary designations. Some assets never get touched by a will or probate court. Insurance policies, for example, usually pay directly to the designated beneficiaries. You need to review your policies and your designations to be sure you’re accomplishing your goals.
- Talking about a trust. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, and they can help keep more of your assets out of probate and the hands of creditors. While not for everyone, it’s something you should still probably discuss.
If you have a will tucked away in your files, that’s awesome — but it’s not enough. Find out now what else you can do to secure your future and protect your heirs.