If you think estate planning is for only the elderly or wealthy individuals, think again. Everyone has collected some stuff, what professionals like to call assets, possessions, investments — and don’t forget the liabilities (debt), like student loans, car or credit card balances. Even if you do not think you have much, it’s important to have a plan for what you do have, and what you want to do with the stuff after you pass away. There are some basic documents everyone should consider having. If you do not complete the appropriate documents, the state you reside in has its own statutory regulations and procedures to dispose of your property. If you do not plan right, you not only surrender your control over your things, but your things may not go to the party you want — such as a partner, life partner, friend or charity. So what can you do?
The website credit.com addresses important tasks that everyone needs to address, in “Why Everyone Needs a Will (I'm Talking to You, Millennials).”
Designate Your Beneficiaries. You can list your beneficiaries on your retirement accounts (401(k), 403(b), IRA, etc.) when you complete the application. Likewise, you can designate your beneficiaries on bank and investment accounts by setting up a TOD (Transfer on Death) designation. It’s easy to do and costs nothing. Remember that beneficiary designations supersede any wish you make in a will.
Draft Your Will. A will is a legal document and is a written statement of your intentions, including where you want your possessions to go and how you want the orderly disposition to happen. See an attorney, as each state has different laws.
State Your Health Care Wishes. Use a Health Care Proxy to let someone you trust make health care decisions and carry out your health care wishes in the event that you are incapacitated.
Sign a Durable Power of Attorney. This form allows someone you trust to make financial decisions in the event you are unable to do so. There is a huge difference between a limited power and durable power of attorney. Talk to your estate planning attorney about these documents.
An experienced Cincinnati estate planning attorney can spend time with you and review your estate issues, complete a will, health care proxy, durable power of attorney, and check beneficiaries, as well as any tax issues. Use an attorney who specializes in this area to ensure your wishes are properly documented and you achieve what you are trying to accomplish, now and in the future.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: credit.com (September 11, 2015) “Why Everyone Needs a Will (I'm Talking to You, Millennials)”