National Estate Planning Awareness Week was adopted in 2008 by the NAEPC – National Association of Estate Planners & Councils – to help the public understand what estate planning is and why it is such a vital component of financial wellness. According to the NAEPC, estate planning encompasses the growth, conservation, and transfer of an individual’s wealth through the creation and maintenance of an estate plan. This year, National Estate Planning Awareness Week falls on October 15-21, 2018.
Estate planning is an essential but often overlooked process to securing your family’s future. For most of us, the topic of estate planning is one that we don’t want to talk – or think – about. The thought of you or your loved one passing away can be overwhelming and difficult. Others disregard the topic because they think they have plenty of time to complete it in the future, or they do not have enough money. Whatever the reason may be, failing to put a proper estate plan in place can create hardship for your loved ones if you become incapacitated or after you’ve passed away. Putting a plan in place will ensure that your family and financial goals are taken care of once that day comes.
In honor of Estate Planning Awareness Week, we compiled a list of the five main elements of a complete estate plan.
- Will – A will is a legal document that designates how your possessions will be distributed after you die. When drafting a will, you will be asked to choose an individual who will carry out your wishes as dictated in your will. This person will handle the administration of your will, including paying all the debts and taxes and distributing what remains as per your wishes
- Healthcare Power of Attorney – A healthcare power of attorney designates an agent to make decisions on your behalf with regard to your health should you become unable to make those decisions, or to properly communicate those decisions on your own.
- Financial POA – A financial power of attorney can only control who handles your financial affairs
- Living Will – A living will explains your wishes about when you want medical care to extend your life, and what type of care you want. This document goes into effect only if you become seriously ill, suffer severe injuries, or are otherwise incapacitated
- HIPAA Release – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information provided by health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.
Establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. National Estate Planning Awareness Week is an ideal time to make sure your affairs are in order in the event of sickness, an accident, or untimely death. You can celebrate by discussing your estate planning needs and goals with a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney at Bratton Law.