Think about everything you own – your home, your possessions, your assets, etc. Your retirement plan should include a detailed plan for what will happen to your estate when you pass on.
A comprehensive estate plan includes a plan for your internment and the disbursement of your assets and property. A well executed estate plan enables you to manipulate your assets for tax efficiency and wealth retention and gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your financial affairs are in order and organized for the benefit of your heirs.
Your Estate Plan should incorporate these strategic elements:
• A Will (Last Will and Testament): Without a will, the state will determine the disposition of your assets. Your will should say how you would like your property and assets distributed upon your death, name an executor of your estate and provide for payment of any costs incurred in settling the estate. It is very important to treat your will as a living document and to keep it updated.
• Power of Appointment: Power of Appointment gives someone the authority to dispose of certain property under the will.
• Advance Directives: Advance Directives direct your medical and end-of-life care if you become incapacitated.
• Living Will: This document outlines specific instructions for your medical treatment if you cannot make those decisions yourself. A Living Will is often used along with a Medical Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy to designate someone to make health care decisions on your behalf.
• Power of Attorney (Financial Power of Attorney): This document designates a person who will make financial decisions and other legal acts on your behalf if you are unable to do so while you are still alive. Your agent may access bank accounts, manage real estate or other assets, file income tax returns or apply for benefits on your behalf.