You've seen it in the movies. After the funeral, the wealthy family in black sits down in the parlor and the executor of the estate reads the last will and testament.
The scene usually has some dramatic surprises, there are usually some disgruntled relatives who had been hoping for the family fortune but instead got teaspoons. It's all well and good for Hollywood to depict wills in this overly dramatic fashion, but in reality, there is a lot more to the story.
Why everyone should write an estate plan
Wills are a foundational part of an estate plan. They allow you to set your affairs in order, now and after you are gone.
An estate plan allows your loved ones to protect your rights and advocate for you when you need it.
This can be by giving them the legal rights they need for:
- Taking care of you if you become sick
- Taking care of taxes now and in the event that you die
- Paying your bills
There are several tools included in a good estate plan:
- Healthcare directives to act as your voice in important medical decisions if you are unable to do so due to an injury or illness
- Trusts to help with keep your will from going into probate which can be stressful on families
- Financial powers of attorney
It's hard to think about a future where you might not be able to take care of yourself. Writing an estate plan now before you need it will ensure that your loved ones can act in your best interest when you need them to. Estate plans are essential, but are complicated. You should speak to an attorney with experience in estate planning about your particular situation.