The Need for a Living Will in Your Estate Plan

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Living Will in your estate planTo help your health care proxy render an informed decision, a Living Will in your estate plan is essential. The Living Will is a document that declares your wishes about life prolonging treatment if you become incapacitated. After choosing your health care proxy as detailed in the article Considerations for Choosing Your Health Care Proxy, the Living Will gives your doctors and health care proxy direction in deciding treatments for your condition while incapacitated. As a result, the Living Will in your estate plan becomes a vital document.

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Considerations for Choosing Your Health Care Proxy

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choosing your health care proxyChoosing your health care proxy is another crucial step in building a solid estate plan. As explained in the article A Coherent Estate Plan Consists of More Than Just a Will, the health care proxy is a document that names a person to render medical decisions for you while incapacitated. Unlike naming an agent for finances, choosing your health care proxy deserves more scrutiny. Since your health care proxy could be handling complex medical options and opinions, you need to ensure that the proxy is up to the task. Therefore, choosing your health care proxy deserves serious consideration.

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Considerations for Choosing an Agent for Your Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

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choosing an agentChoosing an agent for your Durable Power of Attorney for Finances deserves as much consideration as choosing the right executor. As described in the article A Coherent Estate Plan Consists of More Than Just a Will, estate planning involves taking care of yourself first. As such, the Durable Power of Attorney for Finances becomes an integral document for your estate plan.

The Durable Power of Attorney for Finances is a document that allows you to designate an agent to handle your finances in the event you become incapacitated. Additionally, the agent you choose has only the financial authority that you grant them in the document. Therefore, choosing an agent for your Durable Power of Attorney for Finances is vital to building a solid estate plan.

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Choosing the Right Executor to Administer Your Estate

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choosing the right executorChoosing the right executor to handle your estate is a prerequisite to selecting a solid strategy for your estate plan. In the article Use Common Sense to Select a Good Strategy for Your Estate Plan, naming an executor is part of the preparation for selecting a solid strategy. Therefore, when choosing your executor, ensure the person has the right traits to administer your estate plan.

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Use Common Sense to Select a Good Strategy for Your Estate Plan

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good strategyWhile planning your estate, common sense is necessary to select a good strategy. In common estates, there are many options in selecting a strategy designed to execute your estate plan. Since forming a strategy involves many decisions, you need to use common sense to make good decisions. Otherwise, problems may result for your beneficiaries and your executor. In essence, common sense leading to good decision making is the formula for a sound estate plan.

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Why a Residuary Clause in a Will is Necessary

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residuary clause in a willThe residuary clause in a will distributes property in the residuary estate. As explained in the article Why List Beneficiaries in Your Will?, the residuary estate consists of property remaining after distributing all bequests and paying estate obligations. Therefore, when property exists in the residuary estate, the residuary clause will name a beneficiary to receive the property. Finally, to have a truly sound estate plan, a residuary clause in the will is necessary.

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Why List Beneficiaries in Your Will?

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list beneficiaries in your willAlthough avoiding probate is preferable in common estates, there is still a need to list beneficiaries in your will. As mentioned in the article Tips to Avoid Probate in your Estate Plan, not all states allow designated beneficiaries for certain types of property; therefore, certain types of property must pass through a will to a listed beneficiary. Furthermore, there is the need to plan for your residuary estate regardless of your estate planning strategy. Nevertheless, whether your will serves as a backup will to a living trust or serves as the centerpiece in your estate plan, there are significant reasons to list beneficiaries in your will.

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A Coherent Estate Plan Consists of More Than Just a Will

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coherent estate planMany people with common estates believe that a coherent estate plan consists of just a will. This perception about estate planning emanates from the idea that estate planning is only about transferring property after death. Unfortunately, if you believe in this misguided perception about estate planning, you will never complete a coherent estate plan.

Before planning your estate, you must understand that estate planning involves taking care of yourself first, then your property. Sadly, at some point in your life, you may become too ill to handle your own affairs. Therefore, you must provide instructions to manage this possibility in your estate plan; otherwise, the state court will intervene. So, to avoid state court interference, a coherent estate plan must consist of more than just a will.

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Small Business Owners: Don’t Leave Your Executors in the Dark

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small business ownersWhile constructing their estate plans, small business owners should advise their executors about changes in their business. Although the executors don’t need to know the day-to-day business operations, small business owners should inform their executors of the following:

  • Any sale of the business.
  • A change in registration of the business.
  • The succession plan for the business, if any.

Consequently, if the small business owners overlook their executors, the executors will experience a chaotic estate administration.

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Apathy Towards Estate Planning Can Lead to Adverse Consequences

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apathy towards estate planningPresently, apathy towards estate planning is commonly brought on by perceptions people have about estate planning. Recently, during conversations about estate planning, the following perceptions surfaced:   

  • Planning for your death is too morbid.
  • Estate planning is boring.
  • Estate planning involves a lot of work in which I have no time for. 

Unfortunately, these negative perceptions lead to apathy that result in the following consequences concerning estate planning:

  • Some people will procrastinate for such a long time that estate planning is completely forgotten. As a result, their estate will fall into intestacy when they perish.
  • People will create a sloppy estate plan just to get through a process they detest. As a result, complications will arise that will confuse the executor and the beneficiaries.

Although there are people who take estate planning seriously, there are plenty of people who are apathetic. Thus, apathy towards estate planning can lead to adverse consequences for the executor and for the beneficiaries of the deceased.

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