What is estate planning?Estate planning is the process through which you make known your wishes for what you want to happen to your assets upon your death (commonly done through a last will and testament). Estate planning also involves stating your wishes for your health care through power of attorney declarations and advanced directives. In short, it allows you to maintain control of your health care and estate.
How much does estate planning cost?There are do-it-yourself documents available online that allow you to create your own will, advance directive, and power of attorney declaration. Going this route will be cheaper than using an attorney in the present. However, it is good to work on an estate plan with your attorney to ensure you are going through the process correctly and addressing details you haven’t thought of. If you are worried about cost, you can discuss that with attorneys at your initial consultations as you shop around.
What estate planning documents do you need?Every estate plan should include a last will and testament or establish a trust. This will allow you to state how you wish to distribute your assets to beneficiaries upon your death. A power of attorney declaration will name someone you trust to handle your health care and/or financial decisions if you are ever unable to. An advanced directive (also known as a living will) will state your wishes for any care you want to receive if you are unable to make those decisions at the time. This is useful when it comes to end-of-life care or if you ever need life-saving care because of an accident or illness.
Who needs estate planning?Everyone needs estate planning, and if you are 18, it is never too early to start thinking about your plan! While we all want to live a long, full life, accidents and illnesses happen. And having a plan in place will go a long way in protecting your wishes.