It is important for all responsible adults to at least have a basic estate plan in place. The thing about “taking your chances” without an estate plan that is really irresponsible is the fact that estate planning is not something that is going to benefit you. You will not be around to see the result of the plan– it is engaged in for the well-being of your family members. So when you procrastinate you are putting the well-being of your family members at risk.
Obviously the more complex your estate is the more things there are going to be to think about. But we would like to take a look at three basic estate plan components that are really a must for just about everyone.
The first one we will highlight is life insurance. At any given time you have to ask yourself where your family would be financially if your income was to become nonexistent due to your death. Life insurance is a microcosm of estate planning as a whole because life changes are going to require reviews in your coverage. Additions and subtractions to your family are among these changes, and others are financial as you advance along a long career path and take on greater and greater responsibilities.
Next we would like to mention vehicles of asset transfer. Most people think about last wills when they consider the subject, and a last will is indeed an option that is available to you. But it is not the only choice, and for many it may not be the best one. Revocable living trusts are also quite popular, and this would be something that you would want to discuss with your estate planning attorney.
Lastly, you would do well to execute advance health care directives. With a living will you state your preferences regarding acceptable medical procedures. With a durable power of attorney for healthcare you appoint an agent to act in your behalf should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate medical decisions.