Even if you are not old or close to dying, it is important to have an estate plan in place for when the day comes that you need it. It is hard to predict the unimaginable, so it is better to be prepared than to wait until an estate plan is necessary. Here is what you should do if you do not have an estate plan already.
Create Your Will
Start by making a will, even if it is a simple will where all of your belongings go to a single person. This will help ensure that your wishes are carried out if you were to pass away, and there are no arguments about what you would have wanted. If you have children, it is important to list who you would want their legal guardians to be if you pass away prematurely. Just make sure to ask the person first and know that they would be okay with it. This may be a sibling or close friend that has children of similar age.
Plan to Pay Off Debts
The last thing you want to happen is to come up with an estate plan only to not have anything left for your heirs due to debts. Come up with a plan for how you will pay off any existing debts. Many people have a basic life insurance policy so that it can cover those debts, such as an existing mortgage, so that assets do not need to be sold to pay off the debts.
Decide on End-of-Life Care
There may come a time where you are not able to make decisions for yourself when it comes to care at the end of your life. Many people also make decisions about whether they would want to be kept on life support in a worst-case scenario. You should not only have these decisions written down but let others know what you would like. This will help avoid any confusion about your wishes when you are unable to express them.
Secure the Documents
Once you have all the documents in place for your estate plan, you'll want to take steps to secure them. Make sure that there are multiple copies of your will in places where it cannot be destroyed by accident. Make it known what life insurance policies you have so that others can cash them out. If you do not secure the documents for your estate plan, it will be like you did not have one.
For more information, contact an estate planning attorney.