If you could make simplify your loved ones’ lives wouldn’t you? Estate planning is one way to achieve this. While getting started can be daunting or make you feel uncomfortable, it’s an important step to take.
Only 4-in-10 adults in the United States have estate planning documents – such as wills or trusts – in place. Older adults, though, are more likely than younger adults to have their affairs in order. Nearly 60% of boomers and over 80% of adults ages 72 and older have started the estate planning process. Yet, nearly 80% of millennials and over 60% of adults in Generation X have yet to begin.
Even if you are young or healthy, having a basic estate plan in place is a necessary precaution. In creating yours, you will want to make sure you have a will that establishes who will receive your assets. You will also need to have power of attorney documents that authorize your loved ones to manage your affairs if needed.
The importance of having a will
Without an estate plan, you will die intestate. Your estate, in this case, would disburse in probate court following Texas’ succession laws. Based on these, your property would go to your closest next of kin. Depending on who this person is, you may not want them to receive all – or any of – your assets. To prevent this outcome, you must create a will that designates your assets to beneficiaries.
Having a will is also crucial if you have made clear to your loved ones your intentions for your property. If you have not recorded these, the state’s succession laws could cause confusion and conflict once it comes time for your assets to disburse.
The importance of drafting power of attorney documents
If you become incapacitated and can no longer manage your affairs, you will need someone to take care of them for you. For this to happen, you must draft durable and medical power of attorney (POA) documents. Your POAs will authorize an agent – usually a close family member – to act on your behalf in making decisions about your personal affairs and medical treatments. Without these documents, your loved ones may be at a loss for who should handle these matters – and how to manage them.
Even if you are likely to live for many more years, having a basic estate plan place is imperative. An estate planning attorney can guide you through the steps you must take to create one.