When most people consider estate planning, they think about writing a will. While a will is an important part of any estate plan, it is just one piece of the puzzle. There are several other key elements that are necessary for a well-rounded and effective estate plan. Rozin | Golinder Law can explain five essential components of an estate plan: will, trust, power of attorney, medical directives, and beneficiaries.
Wills are legal documents that dictate how your property and assets should be distributed after your death. These documents can also appoint individuals to care for minor children. It is important to note that a will does not avoid probate, which is the legal process of distributing a person's assets after their death. However, having a will in place helps ensure that your belongings will go to the people or organizations you want them to, rather than distribution being decided by the court.
A trust is another legal document that can be used in estate planning. Trusts are often created for asset protection or to minimize taxes on inheritance. Unlike a will, trusts can avoid probate because they are already legally binding documents. Trusts can also be used to provide care instructions or guidelines for minor children or disabled family members.
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney refers to a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf. These are often used in estate planning to appoint someone to handle your finances or medical care if you can no longer do so yourself. A power of attorney can be revoked at any time, as long as you have the mental capacity to do so.
Medical directives, also known as living wills, are documents that outline your wishes for medical treatment if you are ever incapacitated and cannot communicate your wishes yourself. These directives can include things like whether or not you want to be placed on life support, what kind of pain management you would prefer, and who you would like to make additional decisions on your behalf.
Finally, beneficiaries are the people or organizations who will receive your assets after you die. You can name beneficiaries in a will, trust, or life insurance policy. It is important to regularly update your beneficiary information, as this is typically not something that can be changed after your death.
Starting The Process
Estate planning can feel like an overwhelming and daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. By understanding the key components of an estate plan, you can be sure that your wishes will be carried out after your death. If you want to start your estate planning process, reach out to the team at Rozin | Golinder Law today. We are prepared to help.
To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at (732) 810-0034 or visit us online.