Show Your Valentine Some Love with Estate Planning

February 11, 2015

Estate planning is the process of planning how a person’s assets will  be distributed according to their wishes upon passing. By putting an estate plan in place you have taken the necessary legal steps to set your  financial affairs and family priorities in order. Once starting a family, it’s important to establish an estate plan immediately. It’s hard to think about our own mortality, but it’s equally difficult to imagine how your loved ones will be taken care of should you unexpectedly pass away. This can also maximize the value of your estate by reducing taxes and eliminating any uncertainties.

When you decide to create a will, the first step that should be taken is to evaluate all of your assets; this includes, any savings, real estate, investments and retirement accounts. Once your wealth has been determined, a will allows you to determine exactly how those assets will be distributed. It is also important to determine guardianship of any children; this should be updated every few years since people’s lives change as they age.

Setting up an advanced healthcare directive and power of attorney are also important aspects to estate planning because they help with any end of life wishes. An advanced directive is essentially an incapacity plan and lets healthcare professionals know exactly what your wishes are based on the health diagnosis. With a valid power of attorney, a trusted person is named to legally take care of your important matters, such as paying bills, managing investments, or anything else that can’t be taken care of by yourself.

Planning your estate provides security for your family members should anything happen unexpectedly, this saves unnecessary stress to family members. Once you have done all the work, it’s essential to keep documents in a place where family members can access them easily when needed. While you are thinking about those you love this Valentine’s Day, think about finally tackling your estate planning or updating old plans.  It is the most loving gift you might give.