In challenging periods, a well-structured estate plan can be a beacon of certainty, ensuring the protection of your assets and providing peace of mind for your loved ones. Here are some estate planning basics to help navigate these difficult times:
- Draft a Will: At its core, an estate plan starts with a will. This legal document outlines how you want your assets distributed after your passing. Without a will, your estate could be subject to intestacy laws, and the distribution of your assets may not align with your wishes.
- Power of Attorney: An enduring power of attorney (POA) designates an individual to manage your financial affairs should you become unable to do so. A POA is an essential tool in uncertain times as it ensures your financial matters are appropriately managed.
- Health Care Directive: A living will or health care directive allows you to express your medical treatment preferences if you cannot communicate them yourself. Coupled with a healthcare proxy (someone to make medical decisions on your behalf), this directive can offer comfort knowing your healthcare wishes will be respected.
- Trusts: Depending on your circumstances, you may consider setting up a trust. Trusts can provide control over how your assets are distributed, possibly reduce estate taxes, and avoid probate, an often long and expensive legal process.
- Beneficiary Designations: Life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and certain types of bank accounts allow for direct beneficiary designations. It’s crucial to review and update these designations regularly to reflect your current wishes.
- Legal Counsel: Estate planning can be complex, especially in turbulent times. Working with experienced professionals like Tenina Law can ensure that your estate plan is robust, aligns with your goals, and complies with current laws.
- Communication: Once your estate plan is in place, communicate with your loved ones about your decisions. This step can help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts during an already challenging time.
This article was written by Alla Tenina. Alla is one of the best tax attorneys in Los Angeles California, and the founder of Tenina Law. She has experience in bankruptcies, real estate planning, and complex tax matters. Visit www.teninalaw.com for more information. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.