When you think about the end of your life, it’s important to consider taking steps to protect yourself and your family legally.
As you’re making plans, a will is probably at the top of your list. It’s a good step toward protecting your heirs and making sure your assets are divided according to your wishes. But is it enough to take care of your family?
The answer largely depends on your own unique situation. For some people a will may be sufficient, but others will need to consider additional estate planning documents.
- Living will: A living will specifies how decisions about your medical care should be made in the event that you can no longer make them for yourself. Living wills are a good idea for every adult because they give you control over what happens to you if you’re incapacitated. They also prevent family tension and misunderstandings, potentially reducing the risk of unwanted medical bills for your family.
- Power of attorney: A power of attorney, also known as a health-care power of attorney, allows another person to make decisions for you, including financial and medical decisions and those involving your children. It’s a good idea to have a power of attorney in place in case something unexpected happens, but it’s even more important if you’re sick, about to undergo surgery, or reaching a stage of life at which you’re likely to need someone’s help managing decisions.
- Living trust: A living trust gives a trustee control over some of your assets. These assets are held in trust for you while you’re living and transferred to your heirs upon your death. People with considerable assets often consider this option.
Getting your documents in order is extremely important as you plan for the future. Just as important is preplanning your funeral.
When you preplan, you choose not only the basics such as whether you wish to be cremated or buried and where you’d like your final resting place to be. You can also specify readings, music and who you’d like to be involved in the service. Preplanning keeps your family from having to guess your wishes while also giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your final service will be what you wanted it to be. Another bonus of preplanning is that it can save your family money because it locks in today’s prices for a future need.
At Greenwood, we make preplanning easy. We offer online planning as well as a preplanning guide, and we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have. Call us at 619.450.1479 for more information, or visit our Plan Ahead page to get started.