If you’re over the age of 18, regardless of financial status or property owned, it’s important to set the measures of an estate plan for health purposes. Estate plans not only allow for finances to be managed in the case of an accident, but they also amount to a number of other important measures that any individual should consider.
Should you ever become incapacitated do to physical or mental illness, setting up an estate plan to appoint the power of attorney to make decisions towards your finances is invaluable. Without the power of attorney appointed beforehand, should this instance occur, your family will have no legal right to use any of your assets towards your housing or medical expenses.
2. Medical Decisions During Incapacitation
In the instance of incapacitation, a medical directive by a designated person (a spouse, friend, family member, etc.) will need to be made. By creating an estate plan, that directive can be legally designated to whomever the individual who has made the estate plan chooses. The designated person will make medical decisions for you, rather than allowing doctors to make the decisions on their own. This directive includes measures to life-sustaining support in the instance of a coma or terminal illness.
3. The Ability to Choose Who Inherits Your Assets
Developing an estate plan if you are over the age of 18 is important because it allows you the freedom to choose who inherits any assets you may have acquired in legally binding documentation. If something were to unexpectedly happen to you and an estate plan were not in effect during that time, your assets may not go directly to whom you may have wished they go to.
4. Designation of How Money is Used By A Beneficiary
Through the creation of an estate plan, you may insert clauses that designate how your beneficiaries may use their inheritance. This is primarily beneficial of you are uncertain of a beneficiary’s ability to manage finances, yet still wish them to be a beneficiary. To provides protection from the potential of outside sources influencing the spending of a beneficiaries’ inheritance, and from the poor decision making in spending by the beneficiary themselves.
5. Protection of Assets from Creditors
Creating an estate plan allows the ultimate amount of protection and security of your assets both in life and in death. One of the biggest ways an attorney can help when creating and implementing your estate plan is to protect your assets from creditors. Depending on the line of work you are in, if your business receives frequent litigation, having protection against creditors attempting to redeem some of your estate will help you greatly.
6. The Ability to Choose Who Manages Your Estate
This is one of the most important aspects of setting up an estate plan and takes a large amount of thought. Choosing someone to manage your estate entirely should something happen to you is a very big responsibility. However, this is an aspect that many people choose to put in their estate plans. This designated individual will have the responsibility of choosing what to do with your assets. Some examples of the powers this appointment include paying off any unsettled debts, dividing your wealth amongst who they deem necessary to receive it, and even liquidating the entirety of your assets. Appointing someone to manage your entire estate is especially useful if there are only a small number of people that an individual knows, and one specific person they trust as a sole estate representative.
What to Think About When Deciding to Make an Estate Plan
Looking towards the future and really thinking about, in the chance of your sudden injury or death, what you would want done with your assets is a very important part of being an adult. Some things to consider while deciding whether you want to create an estate plan or not include:
- The Importance of your assets (i.e. funds, valuable property)
- Family and close friends and how important it is that they receive or manage assets
- Healthcare directive decisions to be made in regards to possible incapacitation
- The importance of power of attorney in end-of-life and incapacitation situations
- Whether you need a will or a trust, and who your beneficiaries might be
- The peace of mind that an estate plan establishes
Estate plans are an important part of anyone’s life, and should be considered by anyone over the age of eighteen who values their assets, family, and loved ones. The peace of mind that you gain from knowing that you are cared for in sudden death or injury is invaluable. Accidents resulting in death or incapacitation are unpredictable at any age, which is also why it is important to have your assets and healthcare directives set in place in preparation for such an event.
If you are above the age of 18 and need assistance in planning your estate, get in contact with us today! Our attorneys live and practice in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. We are a client business service and provide prompt and cost-efficient legal services with a specific expertise in estate planning.