Estate planning allows you to decide how your assets should be distributed upon your death. In essence, it allows for control from the grave! This might be a good thing for those of us under 50. Since dying does not just happen to old people and all too often younger parents feel immortal, this may be their only chance it get it right.
If you do not have a Will, the state provides one for you. It’s that simple. This simplicity is confirmed by a post on the CBS Boston website titled, “Estate Planning For All.” Yes, if you die without a Will, your state’s estate laws decide who gets your assets when you die. Even worse, if you are married with young children and both you and your spouse were to die, say, in the same car accident, a judge likely decides who your children’s guardian is. Think about that. Is there a cousin Vinny or maybe a Cousin Itt on your family tree? Do you want either of those two and their families raising your kids?
My advice, to the few immortals who accept my offer for a complimentary consultation on estate planning, is to talk to the person(s) you are considering having raise your children if you can’t. Find out about their values, goals, parenting style and maybe most importantly—their patience level. Then draft a Will that names a Guardian for your children.
All too often, younger clients and their friends think that estate planning is not something they need. Estate planning doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or complicated, and, it definitely is not just for millionaires and movie stars. You want to do it right and you should turn to a professional to make sure you have the following documents drafted correctly.
- Draft an estate plan. Name fiduciaries that adhere to your wishes, who administer and distribute assets to your beneficiaries as you have instructed them. If you have minor children, you should name a guardian for them.
- Sign a Durable Power of Attorney. This lets you to appoint an individual to act on your behalf legally and financially if you are incapacitated.
- Advanced Medical Directives. This lets you to select someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them. You need to have a discussion with the person you ask to be your healthcare agent about how you feel about medical decisions. Make sure they understand that this is about you and your wishes—not about what they think is right. Then sign a Living Will so that if the time ever comes, you have already given instructions for how you wish to die.
You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning. Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.
Reference: CBS Boston (May 1, 2015) “Estate Planning For All”