Too many Americans do not have an estate plan. In fact, two out of every three people in this country do not have an estate plan at all. One of the biggest factors keeping people from creating an estate plan is not knowing what they should include in it. To help you take the first step in protecting your wishes, here are three things everyone should consider including in their estate plan:
Asset distribution specifications
One of the biggest concerns your loved ones will have after your passing is how they want to disperse their assets. When people do not specify any inheritance and assume the state will take care of things, they take the risk of their loved ones not receiving the right assets at all. By confirming your inheritance and beneficiaries, you can also avoid serious family infighting.
If a sudden illness or injury should keep you from your children or vulnerable adult, appointing a guardian early can ensure that someone you trust will look after them. Without appointing someone, you take the risk of your dependants becoming wards of the state through the foster care system, so it is better to place this safety net for them as soon as possible.
Health care directives
Proper estate planning is not only for when you pass on; it can also help you while you are alive. One way estate planning can benefit you now is by creating a health care directive. This legal document specifies your medical wishes, such as what medical treatments and operations you consent to, how long you wish to remain on life support, and if you wish to be an organ donor. Making these decisions now can also relieve your loved ones from the burden of having to make these decisions later on.
Do not leave your loved ones guessing
Without an estate plan in place, your family and friends may never know what your last wishes are or how to protect them. There is no telling what tomorrow may bring, so take the time today to put an estate plan in place that you and your loved ones can count on.