Estate Planning Explained

Posted on: 16 May 2023

Estate planning is the process of making end-of-life arrangements while you are still in a position to. You can make these arrangements with an estate planning layer at any time in your life, and the goal is to give you peace of mind and ensure your wishes will be carried out leading up to and after your death. Estate planning also takes the pressure off your loved ones when you reach the end of your life, as the process ensures they know what steps to carry out on your behalf. Here's an overview of the main ways an estate planning lawyer can help.

Last Will And Testament

Your last will and testament outline how you want your assets to be dealt with when you die. It's a legally binding document that needs to be signed by witnesses, but you can change your will whenever you like. It's not uncommon to change your will after a major life event, such as marriage, divorce or having children. If you have pre-paid your funeral, the details of this should be included in your will. If you die without having a will in place, your assets will go to your family by default, but how those assets will be split will need to be agreed upon by your family members, which can cause tension. There will also be fees that need to be deducted from your assets when they are distributed with no will in place.

Advance Care Directive

Having an advance care directive in place means if you lose the ability to make key decisions for yourself, which can occur if you develop dementia or suffer a brain injury, those caring for you will be aware of your wishes. An advance care directive records your preferences for end-of-life care and organ donation and takes your religious or cultural beliefs into account. You can also appoint someone to make health decisions on your behalf, such as a family member with a good understanding of your beliefs and wishes.

Power Of Attorney

Granting someone you trust power of attorney can give you peace of mind that your financial affairs will be taken care of if you reach a stage where you are no longer able to manage your finances yourself. Your appointed person will become responsible for paying bills and managing assets, such as property, on your behalf. They will also manage any investments or business interests you have and will work under the terms outlined by you in your power of attorney contract.

These are just a few ways an estate planning lawyer can help you secure your future and remain in control of what's important to you. To find out more about estate planning, schedule an appointment with a local estate planning law office. 

Reach out to an estate law firm like Neilson Stanton & Parkinson to learn more.