Do you have an estate plan? If you are like many Americans, the answer is “no.” This is unfortunate, as a comprehensive estate plan can help ensure that your end-of-life wishes are documented and honored.
Survey shows many lack an estate plan
A recent survey from Caring.com showed that many people do not have an estate plan. According to the survey, only approximately 33% of respondents had an estate plan. Why are so many people neglecting estate planning? Some reasons cited in the survey include:
- They simply have not made it a priority
- They do not believe they have an estate to pass on to their heirs
- They think estate planning is too expensive
- They do not know how to start establishing an estate plan
As this survey shows, many people have false perceptions of what it takes to execute an estate plan and how to do so. But estate planning is important for those of any age, health and wealth.
What to include in your estate plan
An estate plan can include several basic documents. These include a will, a trust, a living will and powers of attorney. You can designate which of your assets to pass on to your heirs in your will. You can also name an executor in your will. The executor is the person who will oversee the administration of your will.
You can also designate assets to pass on to your heirs in a trust. Trusts must be funded in order to be effective. This means you will move assets into the trust during your lifetime. Trusts are managed by a trustee of your choosing. Trusts have the advantage of avoiding probate.
A living will is different from a will. You can designate what end-of-life care you want in a living will. For example, would you want CPR performed if your heart stops? Do you want to be put on life support if necessary? A living will can address these topics.
There are two types of power of attorney. One is medical. The person with medical power of attorney will make health care decisions for you if you are unable to communicate your wishes. The second type of power of attorney is financial. The person with financial power of attorney will manage your finances for you if you are unable to do so due to a health condition.
Estate planning does not have to be difficult
Estate planning may seem difficult or overwhelming, but it does not have to be. You can seek professional help when executing an estate plan. This way, you can rest assured that your end-of-life care and wishes will be met.