Estate Planning 101: Things You'll Need To Know Ahead Of Time

Estate planning is important for ensuring that your dependents are cared for and your assets are both protected and distributed the way that you intended following your death. However, for those who have never considered estate planning before, you might wonder about the proper approach and what you can expect of your first meeting with an estate planning lawyer. Understanding what the initial consultation includes can help you to be fully prepared and may make the entire process easier for you. Here are some of the things that you will need to know as you discuss your estate plan with your lawyer.

Who Do You Trust To Make Medical And Legal Decisions For You?

A medical and legal power of attorney is a critical part of an estate plan. These documents designate someone to be responsible for making decisions on your behalf in the event that you're incapacitated. These will take effect if you're unable to make your own decisions, such as if you're in a coma.

Before you meet with your estate planning lawyer, take some time to think about who you trust to make decisions like these on your behalf. You may need to appoint two different people, with one handling your medical decisions and one handling your legal decisions. Just be sure that you're comfortable with your choices.

Do You Have Dependents To Consider?

Another important element of your estate plan applies to any dependents you might have. If you have children or other dependents, you'll need to know who you wish to take guardianship of them in the event of your death. The guardianship orders will be included as part of your estate plan, so you need to have a clear idea of what you wish to have established for them.

This should also include any information about trusts for the children's care, funds for the kids themselves, and even any pets that you may have. The more details you can address, the more comprehensive your estate plan will be.

What Will You Do If You Need Long-Term Care?

An estate plan is a perfect way to address the management of your estate and your assets in the event that you're placed in long-term care for any reason. Since you can't predict what may happen medically in the future, it's important that you address every potential eventuality. Planning for long-term care situations is just as important as preparing for your eventual passing.

Talk with an estate planning lawyer today for more information about things that you should consider before your estate plan documents are complete.