Many Americans, even American seniors, don’t have wills, which can cause legal headaches for their heirs because the state will determine where your assets go. Proper estate planning, even if you only have a few assets, can make this process much easier for your heirs. Local estate planning services, such as estate planning legal service in Lafayette CO, can help you with this process.
Power of Attorney
Consider writing a power of attorney document to assign someone you trust to make decisions if you are injured or otherwise unable to make them yourself. Your agent, someone you assign through this document, can then act on your behalf in financial and legal matters. An agent is typically a spouse, grown child or advisor. This document is revocable, so you can change your agent at will, if you don’t have an agent, the courts will make your decisions in the case of mental incompetence.
If you have minor children, you should write up guardianship designations. This information may be in your will or trust documents, but if not, be sure to create a separate document. Your guardian should be someone who shares your values and can handle the financial responsibility of raising children. Ask your prospective guardians whether they would be willing to raise your children prior to naming them. Without a guardianship designation, the courts will determine who your children live with, possibly a family member you may not have chosen.
Will or Trust
A will and trust should be drawn up even if you don’t have many assets. If you want your assets to go to specific people, a will is a must. In addition, the heirs’ tax burden can be significantly reduced through the use of trusts. Be aware of who your beneficiaries are on all your assets, including your life insurance policies, and don’t give the same asset to more than one person.
To protect you and your heirs, consider seeking estate planning services.