Everyone needs to know that they have a plan in place to protect their loved ones after they die. If you pass away without a will your family could end up without the wealth or legacy that you wanted them to have. While nobody likes to think about their own death, it is a necessary consideration because you want to ensure that your family is properly taken care of after you are gone. Wills and estate planning are topics that you need to address so you can be sure that your wishes are respected.

Wills and Estate Planning

The most basic requirement for every adult is a will. A will is a document that specifies how your assets and property are to be distributed after your death. At its simplest, the document is a guide for your family to follow after your death. Without a will your loved ones may be unable to have access to your property and assets.

In addition to distribution of your assets, a will also provides important instructions. If you have minor children your will should provide a guardian for them in the event that both parents pass away. You should not assume that your children will be automatically cared for by family members after your passing. A will is just one part of your estate plan.

What to Include in an Estate Plan

Wills and estate planning include a variety of documents and considerations. In addition to allocating your belongings and assets, the estate plan should address taxation concerns so that the impact on loved ones is minimized. The estate plan should also include retirement planning, life insurance policies, business concerns, trusts and power of attorney.

Many people choose to create a living will. A living will is a document that provides for someone to take over your affairs should you become incapacitated or unable to do so. It may also provide instructions for your care should you suffer a serious accident or illness. For instance, it could contain instructions as to when you do not want to be placed on life support should the decision become necessary. These types of decisions can make the situation easier for your loved ones because they don’t have to guess at what you would have wanted.

Managing Your Estate Plan

Once you put a will and estate plan in effect it remains so unless you make any changes. Modifications may be necessary from time to time. For example, you may have named your spouse and children as beneficiaries in the document but now you have grandchildren that you want to name in your will. This requires you to make a change to the existing document. It is important to keep your will and estate plan up to date so you should review it with a wills and estate planning lawyer on a regular basis. These issues can be complex but with help from a qualified lawyer you and your loved ones will be properly protected. Contact the experienced legal team at HSJ Lawyers to learn how we can help you create an estate plan.