Providing for your family is a priority, even when thinking about what life might look like after you pass. Having a thorough estate plan in place may do more for your family than you realize, though.
While a will is an excellent start to planning, it does not accomplish everything you need. Getting your family set up for life after your death may involve creating other documents and making more decisions now than who gets what.
Create a trust
A will tells the court how you want your property divided after you die. It names assets, which become payments towards any debts the court recognizes as valid. While your will proceeds through court, your family may not have access to money. As such, you should consider starting a trust. This type of fiduciary tool does not go through probate and instead pays out to the person or persons you name. It also provides you tax breaks now as it reduces your liability by taking money and property out of your name and putting them elsewhere.
Prepare power of attorney documents
A power of attorney document grants your decision-making to someone else. A power of attorney becomes useful when a doctor deems you unfit to direct your medical care or financial matters. You may want separate people to fulfill these two different roles. For your medical decisions, a power of attorney may come in the form of a living will or advance directive. These documents set out how you wish critical and palliative care to proceed. The person you designate becomes responsible for your medical care.
Ensuring your family has a smooth transition without you may prove beneficial to them in their greatest time of need.