National Estate Planning Awareness Week begins on October 15. For many, estate planning is not top-of-mind until something happens, and by then, options could be limited. The best time to focus on your estate plan is when you are able to give it your full attention. Here are some things to think about:
Your estate plan should include planning for your lifetime as well as your death. With a few simple documents, you can be prepared for a situation where you are unable to handle your affairs. A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney allows your agent to handle your affairs. A Medical Power of Attorney designates an agent to make medical decisions for you if you cannot. A Directive to Physicians (or “Living Will”) lets medical providers and your agent know what kind of medical treatment you would want. Other forms you may want to have in place are a HIPAA Release (allowing your agent to access your health records) or an Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.
In a Will, you designate who will receive your property at your death. You should make special provisions for minors or other beneficiaries unable to handle their own affairs. If you are making a charitable gift in your Will, contact the organization to confirm their exact name. If you have pets, you should include a provision to ensure their care.
In Texas, you may appoint an Independent Executor who will carry out the directions in your Will. You may appoint a person or an institution. The court exercises minimal supervision over an executor minimizing costs and delays.
You may have accounts or assets (bank deposits, IRA, life insurance) that do not pass according to your Will, but instead pass directly to designated beneficiaries. You should check those designations periodically to make sure they accurately reflect your wishes.
You should be careful in choosing your agent or executor, because they will be able to act on your behalf with virtually the same authority and as little oversight as you would have in managing your own affairs. You should have confidence your appointee’s ability to do what needs to be done and trust them to act in your best interests.
Having an estate plan you’re confident in comes with the peace of mind of knowing you’ve taken care of what’s most important, no matter what tomorrow brings. Broadway Bank Wealth Management is here to walk alongside you as you go through each step of creating or updating your estate plan.