Many people do not like to contemplate their own mortality, and as a result, they put estate planning on the back burner. They never really do much research into the intricacies, and they go forward with the idea that estate planning equates to the creation of a last will.
In reality, this is a gross oversimplification. There are numerous different estate planning strategies that can be implemented, and the right way to proceed will depend upon the circumstances. The fact is, there are many tools in the estate planning toolkit, and in this post we will take a look at some estate planning devices that you may have never heard about.
There are a few different types of wills, and one of them is the ethical will. This document is not legally binding in any way, but in spite of this, it can be one of the most meaningful inclusions in your overall estate plan. With an ethical will, you record your moral and spiritual values so that your love ones will have access to your “rules to live by” even after you are gone.
Pour Over Will
A revocable living trust is an estate planning device that can be preferable to a last will for a number of different reasons. One of them is the fact that assets in a living trust can be distributed outside of probate. This is a costly, time-consuming legal process, and it is public, so anyone that is interested could access probate records to find out how the assets in an estate were distributed.
There are some other advantages to be gained through the creation of a revocable living trust, but we will cover them in a different blog post. If you do have a living trust, you may have some assets in your possession at the time of your death that you did not sign over to the trust. To account for this, you could include a pour over will in your broader estate plan. This would allow the trust to absorb these assets to consolidate the resources, and this would facilitate a smooth administration process.
Advance Directives for Health Care
Of course, estate planning will address the events that will take place after you pass away. This being stated, you should also consider end-of-life issues when you are devising your inheritance plan. To do this, you should address possible incapacity that you may experience late in your life.
If you become unable to communicate with no hope of recovery, would you want to be kept alive through the utilization of artificial respiration, hydration, nutrition, or some other form of life support? You can answer this question and state your preferences through the execution of a living will, which is one of the two advance directives for health care that should be part of your incapacity plan.
A medical scenario could arise that involves decision-making that is not tied to the use of life-sustaining measures. To account for this, you could create a durable power of attorney for health care or health care proxy. This would give the agent that you choose the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated.
In order for the health care agent to be able to make sound decisions, the individual that you choose must have access to your medical records. Health care professionals would be able to share the information with your representative if you include a HIPAA release form.
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One of them is our estate planning worksheet. It is being offered free of charge at the present time, and you can gain a great deal of insight into the process if you take the time to go through it. To obtain access to your copy, visit our worksheet download page and follow the simple instructions.