Is Estate Planning One of Your New Year’s Resolutions? Nine Questions to Get You Started (Part 2)

In the last post, I shared 9 questions you can ask yourself to begin creating your estate plan. After you have answered these questions, here are next steps you can take to get your estate plan in writing:

The Next Step

Although the specific documents you use to create your estate plan may vary depending upon your needs and your particular situation, some of the basic documents that most people will want to create are a financial power of attorney, an advance directive, and a will.

  • A power of attorney is a document allowing you to name someone you trust (who is referred to as your agent) to handle your finances. You are able to decide what powers to grant your agent as well as when the power of attorney will become effective. If you decide to create a durable power of attorney, your agent will continue to be able to act on your behalf even if you become incapacitated.
  • An advance directive allows you to provide instructions for end-of-life care and may include documents such as a health care power of attorney and a living will. A health care power of attorney allows you to name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, and a living will leaves instructions for death-delaying procedures if you cannot state your wishes and have a terminal condition.
  • A will is a legal document you can use to leave instructions for the distribution of your property after you have passed away. In your will, you can name an executor to handle your will, beneficiaries to inherit specific assets, guardians for your children, and caregivers for your pets.

If You Already Have Your Estate Planning Done

If you already have a complete estate plan, this is an excellent time to review your situation and see if there are any changes that you want to make to your estate planning documents. You may want to make changes as a result of changes that have taken place in your life. You’ll especially want to make sure to review:

  • Executor of your estate
  • Guardian of your child(ren)
  • Caregiver for your pet(s)
  • Beneficiaries of your property and assets
  • Financial Power of Attorney Agent
  • Healthcare Proxy
  • End-of-Life Decisions

Estate planning New Year’s resolutions are really important ones, and they are often not as time-consuming as people think. It is worth creating your estate plan to give yourself and your family peace of mind that you have your decisions in writing for what to do should you become incapacitated or after you pass away in the future.

For help with your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.