The Key Components of Estate Planning

Elder Law Homewood, AL: Estate Planning

Have you ever considered estate planning measures? No matter how much wealth you have, there are several areas that you need to consider as you get older. These key areas of estate planning are not something you should overlook.

Choose Your Beneficiaries

Before anything, you need to sit down and consider who you would want to get your financial and tangible assets if you die. If you don’t do this, the state decides who gets what, and their decisions may not be the same as what you’d wanted.

Generally, assets go to a spouse first. If you don’t have a spouse, it’s divided among your children. If a child passed away before you, it would go to any children born to that son or daughter. If you don’t have children, it would go to your parents, if they’re still living, or your siblings. If you don’t have siblings, it goes to your cousins.

Suppose you haven’t seen or talked to her youngest son in 20 years. You may not want him having any of your estate. Without a will that expressly cuts him out of an inheritance, there’s the chance he’d get a share of your estate.

Create Living Wills and/or Advance Directives

Advance directives or living wills protect your interests in certain situations. It can state specifically what you want to happen if you’re unable to breathe on your own. If there’s no chance for survival, would you want to be put on machines that breathe for you?

If you had a stroke and couldn’t speak for yourself, would you want to be given a feeding tube or put on a respirator? Would you want a risky surgery that has a slim chance of helping you?

Advance directives can also address whether you want to be buried or cremated. Would you want a service or memorial? What are your wishes at the end of your life? State it in advance directives and living wills.

Name Your Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney

Once the living will or advance directive is drafted, who would you want acting on your behalf for medical decisions? Do you most trust your son or your daughter? You need a power of attorney to give them the legal authority to make these decisions for you.

Name Your Financial Power of Attorney

Just as you need to name an agent to act on your behalf for medical decisions, you need the same legal form for your financial decisions. You may want the same person making financial and medical decisions, but you may want different people.

Your son is better at financial management than your daughter, but your daughter is stronger when it comes to making decisions when emotions are high. You can name two different people. You also want to have backups for both.

Draft a Will and Trust

You’ve completed the other aspects of your estate plan. Finish up with a will that states exactly who gets what. This is where you break down which beneficiary gets some of your estate and how much or what they are to get after your death.

While there are many sites offering free online wills, tread carefully. They’re not always legally binding in every area. The only way to have an iron-clad will that cannot be disputed is by working with an elder law expert. Schedule a conversation with an elder law attorney to discuss your estate plan.

If you or a loved one need assistance with Elder Law in Homewood, AL contact The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC today. (205) 390-0101