The topic of estate planning can be overwhelming and daunting; however, below are five important topics to help you begin the discussion with your family.
Execute a Living Trust:
In order to pass your assets to your loved ones and avoid probate after your death, a living trust needs to be set-up and executed. A living trust will lay out who is in charge of administering your estate (your successor trustee) and where your assets go after your death.
Take an Inventory of your Assets:
In order for a living trust to properly work and avoid probate, your assets need to be re-titled in the name of the trust. Taking an inventory of your assets from time to time will allow you to make sure that there are no assets that are accidentally left out of trust and keeps your affairs in order.
Execute a Power of Attorney:
While a trust will govern where your property goes after you pass away, a Power of Attorney is extremely important to ensure that in the event you lose capacity, your agent will step in and handle your financial obligations.
Execute an Advance Healthcare Directive:
In the event that you lose capacity, and you are not able to make medical decisions for yourself, your agent will step in and make those medical decisions for you. It is also important to discuss your health care decisions with your agent so that your agent understands your wishes in various situations.
Discuss the disposition of your final remains:
Though this is a difficult topic, it is important to note family and religious traditions for the disposition of your final remains. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Perhaps you want to donate your organs to science. You want to discuss this topic with your loved ones, so that your final wishes are carried out.
Though the above topics are difficult to discuss with your loved ones, when done over a period of time, it can be a straightforward and non-stressful process.