On July 10, 2013

Even though surveys say that the majority of Americans believe that estate planning is essential, the reality is that most people fail to plan. Unfortunately, this strategy leaves many estates up to chance. Dying intestate, or without a will, creates a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Instead of loved ones receiving the decedent’s money and heirlooms, the state gets to decide the distribution of assets, which might be against the wishes of the one who has passed.

A financial planner can help an attorney by preparing a financial net worth statement. This document can help the legal professional and his client with asset valuation. In order to draw up a will, an individual must know what his assets are so he can direct how he wants them distributed. The estate planning process offers an opportunity for people to review their other documents, such as life insurance policies, just in case they wish to update the beneficiaries listed on them.

Another important document to consider is the power of attorney. No one likes to think of a time when he is longer able to make important decisions on his own; however, it is a necessary document. The power of attorney designates a trusted representative of an individual’s own choosing to make decisions on his behalf if he becomes incapacitated. Additionally, a living will help insure someone’s medical wishes are carried out, especially those involving life-prolonging treatments.

Preparing for the future can be challenging. Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney today can help ease the burden loved ones might bear tomorrow. By preparing a will, wishes will be carried out according to plan, as opposed to the wishes of the state.

Source: Northwest Herald, “Five steps to take in devising an estate plan“, Patrick S. O’Connor, July 06, 2013

Categories: Estate Planning

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