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What’s the Best Way to Create a Comprehensive Estate Plan?

When it comes to estate planning, many Americans are unprepared for what comes after death. Two out of three adults do not have a will or other estate planning documents, according to the caregiving website Caring.com.

The number of young adults ages 18 to 34 with estate planning documents increased by 63% since 2020. That’s mainly because of the pandemic, says CBS News’ recent article entitled “How to create a well-rounded estate plan.”

Estate planning is more than just writing a will. A will is one part of a comprehensive estate plan, which involves multiple tools.

Some common inclusions are wills, powers of attorney, advance directives, trusts and more. Estate plans can involve both durable power of attorney for your finances and healthcare power of attorney for medical decisions, if you’re incapacitated.

For young adults, a significant issue beyond the distribution of family assets may be designating a health care proxy and power of attorney (POA).

This part of an estate plan addresses the question of who will make a health care decision on your behalf, if you are unable to do this yourself.

A POA solves the issue of who will make a business or financial decision on your behalf if you can’t.

These documents aren’t just for when you’re on life support. They may be implemented when you’re in the hospital and out of action for a while.

As far as medical directives, you should detail your treatment wishes as much as possible.

This is a very big task to place on someone, so the more detailed you can be about your wishes, the better it will be. And the easier it will for the person who’s your health care agent to carry out your wishes.

You should talk to the individual you’ve selected to be your agent to make certain that he or she is willing and able to assume this big job.

If you have a complicated situation, such as a blended family or you’re not in great standing with the rest of your family, you should definitely work with a qualified estate attorney in the state in which you reside.

Reference: CBS News (Aug. 11, 2021) “How to create a well-rounded estate plan”

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