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5 Estate Planning Tasks to Address Now, While You’re Able-Minded & Bodied

Estate planning is often thought of as end-of-life planning, which leads many people to make the enormous mistake of neglecting the task until it’s too late. While, yes, some elements of an estate plan serve to protect your loved ones after you die, many others play an active role in protecting your well-being while you’re still alive. Furthermore, building an estate plan is a delicate task that involves difficult decisions, so it is crucial to get started now…while you still have all your faculties and (hopefully) plenty of time to revise and rethink decisions as your life continues to evolve.

5 Estate Planning Tasks You Need to Think About Right Now

Every adult needs an Estate Plan, because nobody knows what tomorrow may bring, and everyone has something worth protecting. No matter the amount of money or property you own, you have yourself and your loved ones, at the least. An Estate Plan protects health as much as wealth, which is why estate planning truly is of universal importance. Here are five essential tasks to get you started:

1. Establish a Durable Financial Power of Attorney

A Durable Financial Power of Attorney allows you to designate a trusted loved one or advisor to manage your financial affairs should you suffer incapacitating injury. If, for example, you end up intubated after a serious car accident, this person will step in and ensure your bills are paid, and your money is properly managed, so that you need not worry about these things as you recover.

2. Sign Your Medical Power of Attorney and your Directive

A Medical Power of Attorney is like a Durable Financial Power of Attorney in that it designates a trusted loved one to make decisions on your behalf, should you suffer severe, incapacitating injury. Here, though, the powers concern medical decisions instead of financial decisions. Likewise, make sure you execute a Directive which sets forth your wishes regarding “extraordinary means” of keeping you alive if you end up in a hospital with a terminal or irreversible condition.

3. Take Stock of Your Assets

Among the first steps in establishing an Estate Plan is determining what you own. Often, in doing so you discover that your assets are more complex than you may have realized, especially if it involves marital interest.  Why?  Because you may not own what you think you own.  A proper overview of your belongings includes not only financial holdings and real estate, but digital assets, online profiles, vehicles, and sentimental items, among others.

Probate law firms are a dime a dozen in Texas, and yet one is not necessarily as good as any other. Should you err in your attempt to avoid probate, or choose an avenue poorly-suited to your estate, you expose your loved ones to an expensive world of stress and confusion. Seeking experienced counsel is paramount.

4. Talk to Your Family

Estate planning concerns two parties: you and the people you love. This means talking to your family is an essential task. Not only will you need to consult with loved ones when establishing your Durable Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney and Directive, but you will also need to select an executor of your estate that will be responsible for distributing your assets pursuant to your Last Will.  In this connection, it is crucial that loved ones participate in a conversation about how you wish to distribute your assets. After all, the last thing anybody wants when they write their Last Will is to cause unanticipated hurt by overlooking important details or concerns.

5. Seek Expert Counsel

An experienced estate planning attorney is an essential resource in establishing an effective Estate Plan. Not only will they ensure all of your documents are properly drafted, but they will draw on depths of experience to help you navigate delicate matters effectively and efficiently.

To learn more about getting your Estate Plan off the ground now, while you still have the time, or to speak to an estate planning attorney about anything else related to the matter, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Firm of Blanche D. Smith either by calling (936) 301-0111 or using the contact form below.

Monique Hineline

Smith & Smith are very professional, informative, and relatable with examples and stories to ease the estate planning process. I had the best time at their lunch and learn. Even if you already have your estate planning in place I highly recommend attending a lunch and learn. Thanks Smith & Smith!