4 Components of Estate Planning

Trust Lawyer

While the estate planning process can seem overwhelming at first look, it’s important to remember that the decisions you make now can make all the difference in passing on your legacy to future generations. Without an estate plan, when you pass away, it can make things more challenging for your loved ones and your estate could get caught up in probate. Probate is a court-supervised procedure that authentics a will. This can be a useful process, that is, unless someone is hoping to avoid it. If you want to ensure an easy and smooth transition of your assets to chosen beneficiaries, then developing an estate plan is something to get started on now. 

1. Durable Power of Attorney

Each of us has legal and financial responsibilities to attend to on a daily basis. We have to manage your bank accounts, pay bills, review & documents, and perform any number of monetary tasks. If we were to become unable to do these things because of injury, illness, or death, will there be anybody to handle this for us? That is where a durable power of attorney steps in. This person will have your approval to pay your bills and handle other such tasks in your place. 

2. Will and Trust

Many people think that only the rich and famous need a will and trust, but this is certainly not the case. In fact, a will and trust is a crucial part of any estate plan, whether you have modest means or are more wealthy. Within the trust will have instructions for how you want your assets to be distributed, which is your property and assets, after you have died. The wishes that you have written in the will or trust is legally-binding, and must be abided by after your passing.

3. Beneficiary Designations

While developing your estate plan, you have to make sure that you name beneficiaries and the assets that you want to be given to them after your death. As a NJ trust lawyer from Kaplan Law Practice, LLC explains, you will need to choose beneficiaries for benefits that get paid directly, such as from retirement plans or life insurance policies. Beneficiaries can be your spouse, closest friends, other relatives, or charity organizations. 

4. Advance Directive and Living Will

These documents, the living will and advance directive, specify what your wishes are for medical attention if you cannot make choices for yourself, are terminally ill, in a coma, late-stage dementia, seriously injured, or near death. These directives ensure that you get the medical attention you want and are not provided treatments you would not want to receive. This can relieve pressure from family members having to make stressful decisions in difficult scenarios.