The Importance of Estate Planning
In “What It Was Like to Finally Write My Will,” author John Schwartz of the New York Times describes the process he and his wife went through in working with an attorney to create estate planning documents for their family. In the article, the author admits that, like almost half of Americans, he put off creating an estate plan for years; by the end of the article, he notes that he felt relieved to know that he had set down his wishes for both himself and his family.
The author provides a brief “To Do List” for anyone creating their estate plan. It includes:
- Decide to create a Will;
- Get a lawyer;
- Decide on beneficiaries;
- Name an executor;
- Name a guardian for minor children;
- Secure your paperwork; and
- Revisit the documents as needed.
All individuals, no matter how much wealth they possess, should create an estate plan. While each estate plan will be tailored to the individual’s particular circumstances, the typical estate plan includes a Will, Power of Attorney, and Living Will/Advance Medical Directive. If there are minor children or beneficiaries with special needs, trusts may be created to hold assets passing to these individuals.
While creating an estate plan may seem like a major undertaking, it can be a straightforward process with the right legal guidance. All estate plans, from the simple to the complex, grant an individual the peace of mind to know that his or her wishes can be carried out after death.