Do You Need More than a Will?
If you already have a will in place, you’ve been far more proactive than the majority of your peers have been. A 2021 Gallup poll indicates that less than half of American adults have a will in place. Given that none of us knows how much time we’ll have on this Earth, that statistic is staggering. Yes, the process of creating a will can be stressful, as it compels people to contemplate a time when they will no longer be in a position to provide for their loved ones. However, the stakes of estate planning are so high that it is tough to process that less than half of American adults have taken steps to express how they’d like their affairs to be handled in the wake of their deaths.
If you haven’t drawn up a will yet, it is time to speak with an attorney about your wishes. Don’t “DIY” your will – the risks that you’ll unintentionally do something that will render your will unenforceable are too high. If you have a will in place and it isn’t current, it’s time to update it. And if your only estate planning document is a will, it is time to supplement that estate planning tool with others that are critical to ensuring that your wishes are honored in the event of incapacitation or death.
Additional Necessary Estate Planning Tools
As an experienced estate planning lawyer – including those who practice at Yee Law Group, PC – can confirm, each state imposes different standards and regulations when it comes to estate planning. Therefore, some of these terms may differ slightly from the terms that your state utilizes.
In addition to a will, you’ll want to work with a lawyer to execute an advance healthcare directive so that your loved ones and care team understand what kinds of medical treatment you do and do not wish to be subjected to in the event that you are severely injured or ill. You’ll also want to designate at least one power of attorney so that someone you trust can make decisions on your behalf in the event that you’re incapacitated. You can specify whether that individual or individual is empowered to make medical, financial, business, or general decisions on your behalf.
Finally, if you have minor children or dependent adult children with special needs, you’ll need to designate guardians for them in the event that you pass away or are too injured or ill to take care of them on a long-term but temporary basis.