by Kiren Manning
Every person fears the day that their life’s journey would come to an end. Thus, you can’t blame some people if they wish every time they celebrate their birthday to have a long life. However, the final destination in each one’s journey in life will always be death. So as much as you’re putting off planning how everything that you own is supposed to be transferred after your death since you have other more immediate concerns that need your full attention, you’d have to do it sooner or later. But before you start divvying up your assets by way of estate planning before passing on to your next life journey, here are some things that you need to consider:
1. You have to write a will as early as possible while you still can.
Most people think that you have to reach old age first before getting yourself to compose a will, no thanks to popular culture portraying some old person having written theirs before their death.
● You don’t need to put off writing a will until old age kicks in as you can start composing a legally valid one once you hit your 18th birthday or even if you become financially independent at an age younger than 18. The whole point is to start drafting your will while there’s still time left for you to live your life.
● Having a legally valid will lets you take control of the distribution of your assets to your family members and any other beneficiaries that you’ve stated there in case you die either unexpectedly or due to natural causes.
● However, you can only put people’s names in your will. While you may consider your household pet as a family member to the point that you’re treating it the same as you do any children that you have, the law sees them as incapable of property ownership. Thus, you shouldn’t include the name of your household pet in your will as you can’t transfer any of your assets to them.
2. You’ll need to draft two powers of attorney or a living will to legally authorize somebody else to make health and financial decisions on your behalf if you suddenly become incapacitated due to sickness, injury, or physical or mental disability.
As much as you’ve claimed to be self-reliant for most of your life, there would come a time when you’ll need assistance from other people, especially when you suddenly got bedridden, turned comatose, can’t move a single muscle, or became mentally impaired for life.
● So while you’re still of sound mind and body, you should start composing a healthcare and financial power of attorney or a living will at around the same time as when you’ve already started drafting your will as well or even earlier than that.
● A healthcare power of attorney allows you to assign any person to decide on your behalf whether to unplug your life support or stop any life-prolonging medication given to you.
● If you wish to include more specific instructions concerning any medical situation that you might encounter within the course of your entire life, you would have to write a living will separate from the will in the previous item.
● On the other hand, a financial power of attorney lets you choose whoever you feel like designating to act in your stead for all your financial matters like bills payment and investment decisions in case you can’t take care of them yourself.
● You don’t need to exclusively state the name of your parents, spouse, any child, or any immediate relatives that you have in your healthcare and financial power of attorney and your living will if you don’t trust them at all to make health and financial decisions for you.
3. You can create a trust and designate anyone who you believe can handle your assets properly as a trustee.
Aside from composing a will, you’ll also have to set up a trust where you can have your assets protected from any abuse and misuse once you pass away.
● But unlike a will, you can start managing your assets by way of your trust even while you’re still alive, especially if you suspect that anyone in your family might not use the asset that you’re planning to give to them the way that you want it to get used.
● Setting up a trust is entirely optional though, so you may skip this step if you believe that your will is already sufficient for your assets.
According to a study conducted by Caring.com, six out of ten adults in the United States didn’t plan their estate at all with almost half of them not having gotten around to doing it. While there’s nothing wrong with contemplating about how you lived your life thus far, you should also contemplate about which among those that you’ll leave behind once you pass away should get to have certain assets that you own. Thus, you should consider the above-listed things when planning your estate before passing on to your next life journey so that you can rest in peace and not have to worry about anything as you make your way to the afterlife. If you need more information on the legal aspects of your concerns, you may click here for more information.
Kiren is a estate law writer who enjoys writing about subject in relation to real estate and law. He has written for a few blogs in the past and enjoys sharing his knowledge with those who enjoy reading. In his spare time he enjoys spending quality time with those he loves.