So, you made it your New Year’s resolution to get your ESTATE PLANNING needs addressed. You’ve got a young family, you are healthy, and you and your spouse are starting to accrue some assets. Here are some important things to consider to protect those assets and plan for your family’s future:
WILL or TRUST – You should consider putting together a WILL or a TRUST to indicate what you want to happen with your property at your death. Nobody likes to talk about death, but it is a reality that unexpected things happen. With a family, you need to consider this possibility and plan for it. Beyond how your assets would be distributed, your WILL can name a person to take over as the GUARDIAN or CONSERVATOR for your children if both you and your spouse die. A TRUST will avoid the necessity of appointing a CONSERVATOR for your minor children because the successor TRUSTEE would take over management of the TRUST assets for the benefit of the children, and do this without court intervention.
POWER OF ATTORNEY – Usually people need to have two different powers of attorney. The first is a MEDICAL/MENTAL HEALTHCARE POWER OF ATTORNEY to permit someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. Absent such medical power of attorney, it may be necessary to obtain a GUARDIANSHIP for you, especially if you are incapacitated for a longer period of time. The second kind is a FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY. This permits another person to make financial decisions for you, and assist paying your bills while you are incapacitated.