If one of your goals for the end of the year is to complete your estate planning, you may be like many who believe you can accomplish this simply by drafting a will. However, there are situations in which a will is inadequate. If you have complex assets or complicated heirs, you may find that your estate plan requires other documents besides a will.
While you may not need to go as far as establishing a trust, there are factors to consider at the end of your life besides how to distribute your assets. An experienced Nevada estate planning attorney can provide an evaluation of your circumstances and offer advice about the most appropriate tools for you.
Alongside your will
Writing a will does not necessarily protect you if you should become ill or incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself. Your will does not become effective until you pass away, so you will want to include an advance medical directive in your estate plan. This document grants authority to a trusted person for making critical medical decisions if you are unable to do so. Many combine an AMD with a living will, which gives instructions about the kind of treatment you want doctors to give or withhold in certain situations.
Along with a medical power of attorney, you may want to appoint a financial power of attorney, who will manage your finances, investments and expenses if you should be unable to do so. Powers of attorney can take effect immediately or after a court declares you incapacitated. They typically expire when you die.
Making the most of your will
When you think of a will, you probably imagine a document that assigns your assets to your chosen beneficiaries. However, a will is more versatile than that. If you have minor children, you can include a designation for someone to be their guardian if you should die while they are still minors.
Even if you have a revocable living trust in your estate plan, don’t overlook the benefits of a will. Your will can transfer assets that you did not fund to your trust before you passed away. In this case, the trust is the main part of your estate plan, and your will is a pour-over document that provides additional protection for assets that may otherwise have to go through probate.
You may learn that there are many other ways to utilize your will or trust and that careful attention to these important documents not only provides a legacy for your family to remember you, but also peace of mind that you have provided well for your loved ones.