Estate planning isn’t just about money
For many people, the main focus of estate planning is money. They have amassed a certain amount of wealth and they want to make a plan to pass that wealth to the next generation. They can write a will, put money in a trust, use a payable-on-death (POD) account and much more.
It is important to consider the financial side of estate planning. But it’s also crucial to note that this is not all that estate planning can be used to accomplish. There are many other goals that have very little to do with finances, and they deserve consideration.
Making medical plans
For example, a person could use an advance directive or a living will to list out the types of medical treatment that they want. These instructions can tell doctors and nurses what type of medicine they want to take or refuse to take, if they want to be resuscitated or kept on life-support, and much more.
Another example is when someone uses a medical power of attorney. This establishes a third party as their agent. If the elderly person is incapacitated, the agent assumes legal control and is able to make medical choices for them.
Distributing sentimental items
Next, people who are making an estate plan need to consider that low-value, sentimental items often cause estate disputes. Children and other family members may fight over who gets to have these assets because they all have an emotional connection to them.
Failing to plan for sentimental items can lead to a dispute because heirs can’t come to an agreement. This process goes more smoothly if there is an estate plan giving them instructions so they don’t have to debate anything or make decisions on their own.
Creating an estate plan is highly beneficial on many levels. Those involved in this process need to know what areas to consider, what legal tools they have and what steps to take moving forward.