When we think about Thanksgiving, most of us think about family togetherness. And if your family will be together this year (particularly your adult children), now may be a good time to start a discussion about your estate plan.
It's not easy to think about our own mortality, but estate planning doesn't have to be a morbid topic. Rather, you should think of it as a way to make your golden years more comfortable and a way to make sure your estate is passed along to your loved ones with as little hassle as possible.
Remember that an estate plan isn't just about wills and trusts. A thorough estate plan will also include a designated health-care proxy and durable power of attorney. These are people you can trust to make or communicate medical/financial decisions for you if you ever become incapacitated as the result of a stroke, coma, accident or other serious incident.
After these aspects of your estate plan are addressed, it is fairly easy to start the work of creating a will. You simply need to identify all your property and assets and assign cash value to each. Assets can include:
- Retirement savings
- Real estate
- Insurance policies
- Business interests
Of course, the best way to make sure that your estate plan is thorough is to seek the help of an experienced attorney. Your attorney can make sure that your wishes are clearly stated and will be carried out as directed.
This Thanksgiving weekend, please enjoy spending some quality time with family and friends. But as you do, keep in mind that you won't be the only one who benefits from a well-crafted estate plan. You will also be helping those you care about most. Happy Thanksgiving!
Source: Fox Business, "4 Tips to Begin the Estate-Planning Process," Kathryn Buschman Vasel, Nov. 22, 2013