An estate plan is an essential consideration for all individuals
An estate plan is an essential consideration for all individuals, no matter your age or situation. A basic estate plan can help to provide certainty for various scenarios in the event that you become incapacitated or upon your death, including:
- Controlling the management of your property and finances during your lifetime, particularly if you become incapacitated
- Ensuring that upon your death your property is distributed to whom, when, and how you want it to be, at a minimum of time, trouble and expense
- Ensuring that your family members or other desired individuals have the ability to make medical decisions for you and consult with doctors regarding your health if you become incapacitated.
A will allows you to designate how you want your estate to be distributed upon your death and who you want to be responsible for administering your estate. Parents can designate a guardian for minor children in the event that both legal parents die or become incapacitated. If you die without a valid will, property will pass to your heirs as determined by state law. This may not be who you would choose to
inherit your estate.
Revocable Living Trust
In some situations, a Revocable Living Trust is recommended in addition to a Will in order to avoid probate and maintain privacy.
Durable Power of Attorney
Allows you to designate someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you are unable to act for yourself, usually avoiding the necessity of a court incompetency and guardianship proceeding.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Allows you to designate someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and cannot make or communicate your own decisions.
Advance Directive for a Natural Death (Living Will)
Allows you to express your own desires regarding withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging measures in end-of-life situations. For those who wish to express their desires to receive life-prolonging measures even in end-of-life situations, an alternate form called the North Carolina Health Care Power of Attorney Will to Live is also available.
HIPAA Authorization (Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information)
Provides authorization for named individuals to receive your health care information in the event that you are incapacitated and thus unable to provide such authorization at that time.
Maintaining your estate plan through periodic review is crucial to ensure that your plan stays up-to-date with the law, as well as with changes that occur throughout your lifetime. Learn more about the benefits of signing up with FamilyCare, our annual review and maintenance program.