When most people think about Estate Planning, they usually think it only has to do with planning what to do with your assets (property, money, businesses, etc.) when you are dead. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Proper estate planning should start while we are young, healthy, and able to make informed decisions about what should happen with us, as persons, while we are living, as well as about our assets when we are dead. A good Estate Plan should take into consideration what should happen if we are unable to make decisions for ourselves in case of accident, illness, and ultimately upon our death.
While we’re able to make rational decisions for our family about our health care, property, and other assets, we should have legally valid expressions in place. By doing so, we avoid having our family, or friends, resort to the courts for guidance.
What should you include in an Estate Plan? Documents appointing someone (spouse, family member, significant other, trusted friend) to see that your wishes are complied with should something happen to you where you are unable to make decisions, or in case of death. These documents should include most, if not all, of the following: will, trust, power of attorney, health care surrogate, living will, pre-need guardian or any others tailored to our particular situation. As the adage goes: It is better to be safe than sorry.