Estate planning is not something most people in Illinois or elsewhere want to do. It is something they know they should do, though. You think you have all the time in the world to get it done, but the truth is you may not. You never know. That is why there are some things concerning your estate plan that you’d be better off doing sooner rather than later.
Who is going to make health care decisions for you or protect your assets when you can’t? Who is going to inherit your assets? Who is going to administer your estate when the time comes? How are your loved ones going to know what your final wishes are? These are all questions you can answer by having the following items completed and ready to go.
Create a health care power of attorney
You don’t know if you are ever going to suffer a medical emergency that prevents you from having a voice. A health care power of attorney gives you a voice when you are at your most vulnerable. It allows you to pick a person you trust to make health care decisions for you.
Draft a financial power of attorney
A financial power of attorney allows you to pick a person you trust to handle your assets when you are not in a position to do so. This person usually has the right to pay your bills, do your taxes, and manage your real estate and investments — among other things. You decide what they should have access to.
Create a will
If you know who you want to inherit your property, write it down. A will is a good thing to have, simply for the fact that it is a place where you can document all of your final wishes. However, a will is only valid if you write it when in a sound state of mind.
Name an executor
An executor is a person tasked with administering your estate. This can be anyone you want, but it should be someone you can trust to get the job done and get it done right. It is a big role, so make it someone who can handle the stress that comes with it.
Make an estate planning file
An estate plan is only good if your loved ones can access it. It may be wise to keep a copy of all your estate planning documents in a file so that they are easily accessible when you need them. Items to keep in the file include:
- Your will
- POA forms
- Insurance policies
- List of accounts, usernames and passwords
- Banking information
- Property titles/deeds
The list can go on, but the point is, everything your loved ones will need to manage your affairs in the event you become incapacitated or pass away needs to be in a place where they can find it.
Take the time to protect yourself, your assets and your loved ones
Doing these five items should not take too much of your time. Whatever amount of time it does take will be time well spent if it means protecting yourself, your assets and your loved ones.