The typical modern estate plan contains certain fundamental components. Depending on the specifics of your estate exactly how you craft your plan will vary, but there are some basics included in all well conceived estate plans. Below we have provided a brief outline of the core elements that should be included in any comprehensive plan for the future.
Life Support Preferences
Medical science can do amazing things these days, and it is possible for people to be kept alive with artificial means when they are in a terminal condition deemed irreversible by physicians. Physicians take an oath to preserve life, so if you don’t make your preferences known regarding the use of these measures the decision may create tension and conflict between the medical community and your loved ones. Obviously this is an extremely difficult position. All parties could disagree about the appropriate course of action. So, it is advisable to execute a living will within which you state your preferences regarding the use of life support and any other medical procedures that you may want to address.
The possibility of incapacity is very real when you reach an advanced age. If you do not execute the appropriate documents naming representatives of your own choosing to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf interested parties could petition the court to appoint a guardian to handle your affairs, one that you had no hand in choosing. This can be avoided by executing durable powers of attorney that name attorneys-in-fact to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to make them for yourself.
The Transfer Of Assets
This is the aspect of estate planning that comes to the mind of most people first. You have to arrange for the transfer of assets to your loved ones. There are many ways of accomplishing that task. Identifying the optimal course of action regarding asset transfer and distribution in light of the realities of the estate tax and other sources of asset erosion requires expertise. This is why it is always advisable to consult with an estate planning attorney when you are making important decisions about your legacy.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday