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How to Complete an Estate Planning Checkup

senior couple estate planning

Going to the doctor once a year for a checkup is commonplace, but have you considered checking up on the health of your estate? When properly taken care of, estate planning can provide tangible benefits, enabling you and your family to successfully prepare for the future. Therefore, we recommend completing an estate planning checkup at least once every two to three years. This article will discuss the primary aspects of an estate planning checkup, providing helpful information to ensure you are fully prepared for any unforeseen events.

 

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is your way to make sure the care of your loved ones and the handling of your assets conform to your wishes if something happens to you. It allows you to determine who will make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated or otherwise unavailable. As part of your estate plan, you can also name who will care for your dependents and who will receive your property and wealth. Everyone should have some form of an estate plan, but it is especially important if you have underage children or a blended family. Unless you leave a plan, a court could decide the guardianship of your children and transfer of your assets.

 

Estate planning brings the peace of mind of knowing you’ve made arrangements for the people and things you value most, saving you and your loved ones time and money. It also contributes to your overall individual readiness.

 

-US Office of Financial Readiness

 

Power of Attorney

Making sure you have a properly executed Power of Attorney is essential to an estate planning checkup. Also referred to as the principal, the individual filling out the Power of Attorney form designates the people, referred to as agents, who will be able to act on their behalf. In the event that you become incapacitated, this document ensures the person in charge of making decisions on your behalf has your best interests at heart. Additionally, it may be a good idea to designate successor agents in case your initial choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

 

Last Will and Testament

Your will ensures your property is legally passed on to those you wish to receive it in the event of your death. As family circumstances change over time, making sure your will accurately portrays your current wishes is paramount. Remember that changes to your family circumstances may also affect other aspects of your estate planning.

 

Living Will

In the event that you are in a terminal situation, your living will expresses your legal wishes as to how you would like the condition to be handled medically. This legal document includes choices relating to life support, pain management, and other essential factors.

 

Disposition of Remains

The Disposition of Remains document defines who will handle your remains when you die. This legal document includes decisions pertaining to:

  • Cremation or burial
  • Funeral location
  • Any special wishes you would like carried out

 

Keeping your Disposition of Remains document updated helps prevent unnecessary family disputes after your passing.

 

Trusted Estate Planning Attorneys

As always, it is vital that you hire an experienced estate planning attorney to help you fill out and review all legal documents. Practicing elder law since 2005, we have helped families and individuals throughout Long Island safeguard their future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.