Estate planning is something that everyone should take into account these days as the mysterious Coronavirus makes its way around the entire world.
Covid-19 came out of the left field. Suddenly, many people fear for their safety and longevity. Currently, thousands of people worldwide have lost their lives to this virus and the numbers are constantly increasing each day. It is during challenging and uncertain times like this when everyone must prepare for the worst that could happen.
Are you unsure about how to approach estate planning? Do you have little to no knowledge about what entails estate planning? Here are 5 things you should know about estate planning according to our expert, Jovanna Bearden from Bearden Law.
- The Executor
The executor is the person that’s going to manage all your affairs for you. From dealing with beneficiaries to gathering your assets, and to fulfilling everything on your will. There is more to the role of the executor, but we’ll get to that another day.
For now, what you should know is that this is the person you should think of first when you do your estate planning. When choosing an executor, pick someone who:
- You trust (Do your due diligence in searching for one)
- You know will do a good job (What are their testimonials? Were they referred?)
- Follows your wishes
2. Who Are Your Beneficiaries?
Your beneficiaries are the people who are going to inherit from you. When you’re planning your will and estate, you should think about who these people are before talking to an attorney. That being said, have an idea mapped out first.
Questions to consider when mapping out your beneficiary:
- What belongings would you like to sell?
- Will everyone receive an equal amount? How will you divide everything amongst your beneficiaries?
- Do you want to disinherit someone?
- If there’s something that you want to give to someone in particular, be sure to include the instructions that your executor will carry out for you.
3. Get a Living Will
This is a document for your healthcare that states what you want to happen in the event that you are in a comatose or vegetative state.
The living will also appoint someone who will make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. Be sure this is someone you trust with your life.
Who you should choose to make healthcare decisions for you:
- Your spouse: this is typically the first person you should pick
- Someone who understands your values
4. Power of Attorney
This is a document that allows somebody to make financial decisions for you if you’re not in the position to make them for yourself.
For instance, if you’re in the hospital and you’re on a ventilator and you need somebody to pay the medical bills, or to keep your business going, the financial power of attorney will allow that to happen.
The person who has the financial power of attorney will be your spouse, but you should also have a back-up person in case your spouse isn’t available.
5. Guardians and Trustees
You will need to have a document stating who will physically be caring for your children; this is in the case if you have minor children.
Bearden recommends that you have at least two guardians set out so that if something happens to the first chosen guardian, you’ll have a second one lined up. Your executor will also help you with this.
In terms of a trustee, this is the person you’ll appoint to manage your children’s inheritance should you have money left over, or life insurance to take care of your children.
Your trustee should also know when you’ll want your children to receive their inheritance.
Typically, you don’t want your trustee to also be the guardian of your children. This way, there is some accountability between the guardian and the trustee.
Get Help with Your Estate Planning Now
Estate planning is probably the last thing you want to think about right now, but we assure you that you’ll feel at ease knowing that everything will be taken care of for you and your family. For more information or inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us through our website or reach out to us via our Facebook page. You can also call us at (816) 787-1979