Thinking about planning on how your assets will be distributed after you pass is never an easy thing to think about.
However, after working hard after so many years, no one wants another party or the state to determine how his or her assets are distributed. According to a recent survey by RocketLawyer.com, over 50% of Americans die without a will. There may be many reasons for avoiding writing a will such as procrastination, belief they do not need a formal will and that their assets will be handled properly without a written document and simple procrastination.
The Law Office of John Iaccarino has put together a list of a few documents that are essential to ensuring control over your wealth distribution and medical decision-making as you approach your later years:
- Will — This is the foundational estate planning document which lays out the wealth distribution and names an executor of your estate.
- Trust — A trust is a more specific distribution document, usually working in tandem with the will, which can maximize tax benefits and lay out the terms for distribution. We are experienced with all forms of trusts, including AB Trusts, QTIP Trusts, Credit Shelter Trusts and pour-over trusts.
- Power of attorney — The power of attorney is a document that appoints an agent, someone you trust, to be in charge of your finances if you lose the capacity to handle these affairs yourself. A power of attorney can be set to begin immediately or it can be “springing,” which means it only takes effect at the point in which you are legally declared unable to handle your own financial affairs.
- Advanced healthcare directive — A health care directive provides specific instructions for how your health care providers should proceed in the event that you are unable to communicate your medical wishes. It also appoints an agent to handle any unforeseen medical decisions that need to be made on your behalf when you can no longer make or communicate these decisions yourself.