Young parents who are busy with babies and small children aren’t what come to mind when you think of estate planning, but without an estate plan, their most precious children are unprotected.
Nothing changes a person’s perspective more than welcoming a new baby. Young adults suddenly understand what it means to be responsible for another life. But what they often don’t think about, is how to protect their family if they should become incapacitated or if tragedy strikes and both parents are incapacitated or die unexpectedly.
The Brooklyn Reporter recently published an article, “Top 3 estate planning tips for New Yorkers,” that discusses many issues that face families when there is no will, if no estate planning has been done, and if no one knows how to access assets or has password information for financial accounts.
Estate planning can protect your family in the worst-case scenario, so you don’t leave your finances and your family’s well-being in doubt.
Consider these three essential tips to follow when it comes to estate planning:
- Draft a Will. Pronto! Your last will and testament will allow you to control exactly what should be done with your assets, who should be the legal guardian of your minor children and who will be designated as the administrator of your estate to ensure that your final wishes are followed. Visit a trusts and estates attorney, not a general practitioner lawyer (one who works in several different areas of law). An experienced estate planning lawyer will understand the nuances involved with probate law. Failing to understand these issues, could mean unexpected consequences for your family after you’re gone. Talk to a lawyer whose practice area is focused on drafting wills and estate planning.
- Sign a Living Will and Power of Attorney. A living will (also called an advance directive) will let your healthcare providers and loved ones know of your wishes, when it comes to such critical matters as resuscitation, life-prolonging measures, and palliative care if you’re unable to communicate those wishes for yourself. A living will lets you make this choice, rather than burdening your family at a stressful time. A power of attorney allows you to designate someone with the responsibility of overseeing your day to day issues.
- Schedule a Meeting with A Qualified Estate Planning Attorney. You can learn a lot from doing research online, but meeting with an attorney will give you an opportunity to ask questions, learn about the laws of your state and craft an estate plan that is best suited for your family. You may think you are saving time and money, but the truth is, your family and loved ones will be the ones to find out whether or not your online will is valid. An in-office meeting with an estate planning attorney will spare them a great deal of stress during a difficult time.
Reference: Brooklyn Reporter (May 9, 2017) “Top 3 estate planning tips for New Yorkers”