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Estate Planning Awareness Week

October 18th through October 24th is Estate Planning Awareness Week. The aim of this week is to show the importance of estate planning and how it can benefit you. According to the annual survey[1], younger adults in the 18-34 age range are now more likely than those 35-54 years old to have an estate plan in place.  However, it remains that only 1 out of every 3 individuals have a will or some kind of plan in place offering them protection.

An up-to-date, professionally created estate plan can provide protections tailored to you and your loved ones’ unique situations. By having a living trust in place, you can make sure your property is transferred to who you want, and in the way you want. You know your beneficiaries best and whether they would need time or guidance to become more fiscally responsible, if extra provisions should be put in place for special needs planning, or if extra precautions should be put in place in case of potential future divorces. Considerations like these should be reflected in your plan to offer the most protection for whatever circumstances you and your loved ones are in.

An estate plan can also protect you and your loved ones in the event of accidents, sickness, or death. With powers of attorney for health care and finances you can designate who you trust to be your agent and act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. By naming them in advance, your agent can handle your matters without having to be delayed by the potentially lengthy or frustrating process of opening a guardianship or conservatorship. An estate plan can also let you spell out the kinds of treatments you would want in various health scenarios through advanced directives. This way, while your agent is making medical decisions for you, you can have peace of mind that your wishes will be followed, and your loved ones can have peace of mind that they don’t have to guess what you would have wanted. Having a plan drafted is a great way to be proactive and to help keep you in control throughout life’s curveballs.

Keeping your plan updated is a crucial part of estate planning. Changes in your life and changes in the law should all be reflected in your plans. Marriages, divorces, births, and deaths can create a need to change who is listed in certain parts of your plan. For instance, if a parent was listed as your agent in a power of attorney and you were married, you may want to list your new spouse in that role instead. Also, as you age you want to make sure your plan continues to work in your retirement and in light of any tax law changes. Regularly updating your plan can ensure it is working in the way you intended and affording you the most protections.

An estate planning professional can be a great resource to help ensure your plan works in the way you want it to, and in the way you need it to. We’ll be highlighting how estate planning can benefit you in various ways throughout your life this week. You can also schedule a complimentary initial consultation to discuss your specifics, please contact our office at (248) 409-0256.