Many people believe that estate planning is for those living within a higher income bracket. To be sure, estate planning can be that. But for many, especially those who are less worried about tax consequences, estate planning is about life planning. For today’s post, I want to focus on the concept of life planning.
Last week, I read a great article about a woman who took it upon herself to teach folks about life planning after her husband passed away unexpectedly. Her site, www.getyourshittogether.org is fantastic- short and to the point with a good dose of humor. Life planning is about getting your house in order. It is about making sure you have things in place in case the unthinkable happens. Life planning is about facing up to the fact that we are all going to die. And then, dealing with it. Does this seem harsh? Well, it is intended to be. Because if we don’t deal with it, our spouse/partner, children or other loved ones will. Creating your life plan now can help you deal with these difficult issues with sensitivity and grace.
Today, I offer you my list of the five most important things to consider for your life plan. Be sure to consult with an attorney as these documents and the rules they are governed by vary from state to state and each person has unique legal needs. Where possible, I have linked to the California statutory forms available.
1. Create a will
2. Add joint owners and/or beneficiaries to accounts, property, retirement plans, and life insurance policies, where appropriate.
3. Create an advance health care directive (for health care decisions and end of life decisions)- includes a power of attorney for health care. This document is sometimes referred to as a living will. [California form]
4. Create a durable power of attorney (to allow for financial decision making if you are no longer be able to).
5. Appoint a guardian for your minor children, if applicable. This is typically handled in your will.
External link notice: I do not guarantee the accuracy of the content of any 3rd party website linked to from this post.