cincinnati.com’s recent article, “Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning,” says that estate planning is important because the more clarity a plan provides, the easier time your family and loved ones will have during what is obviously going to be a difficult period.
A will is a legal document that details instructions for the distribution of your property after you pass away. It also allows you to choose a guardian for minor children or other dependents. Your will should name the executor or personal representative who’ll be responsible for overseeing your estate as it goes through probate.
To be legal, a will must satisfy legal requirements. Therefore, you should work with a qualified estate planning attorney during this process. If you die without a will (“intestate”), the state will appoint an administrator to decide how to distribute your property based on state law. The administrator also will decide who will be the guardian of your minor children. This means your assets may be distributed and your dependents cared for in ways that differ from what you would have intended.
A living trust can help with some aspects of the probate process. A trust is a legal entity to which you, as the grantor, transfer title to your property. During your life, you can be the trustee and keep control over the property in the trust. At your death, the individual or bank/trust company you’ve named as the successor trustee distributes the trust assets to the named beneficiaries. The assets in a living trust generally avoid probate. Nonetheless, a living trust doesn’t eliminate the need for a will.
You should also have powers of attorney. A durable power of attorney lets you to designate someone to act on your behalf on financial matters, should you become incapacitated. A power of attorney for health care is for medical decisions and also takes effect if you become incapacitated. In that case, your health care agent can make medical decisions on your behalf.
Reference: cincinnati.com (November 2, 2017) “Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning”