Estate planning can be critical for anyone who wants to help ensure their wishes are respected in the event of temporary incapacitation or upon their death.

Knowing the uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring, having an estate plan in place provides security, and regularly updating what you have put in place can help ensure that security will continue.

Here are four ideas that you can consider when you think about the estate planning you need for yourself and your family:

1. Protect the future for yourself and your family.

The complexity of estate planning depends on your age, marital and parental status, what kind of assets you have, and the legacy you want to leave. The most effective options to protect the future for you and your family may be creating a last will and testament, a power of attorney, and health care documents. Depending on your age, marital and parental status, and what kind of assets or business you have, estate planning can be simple or a bit more complex. Your estate planning attorney will be able to help you navigate this complex process.

2. Take the first step.

For many of our clients, the first step is to create your last will and testament. You will need to make decisions in regard to valuable possessions you own, the dividing of your estate, the need for a trust for your spouse or partner to live comfortably, and still be able to preserve assets for children and grandchildren.

3. Start your legal planning now.

It is important to create your power of attorney and health care planning documents now, while you have the capacity to do so. A power of attorney can allow someone else to make financial or legal decisions on your behalf. If durable, this power can survive, even in the event you become incapacitated. Your health care documents can allow someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You can choose a trusted loved one to fill both roles or choose two different people who may be better suited to one or the other. The important part is that, by planning ahead now, you get to make your own choices.

4. Keep your estate plan up to date.

It is very important to keep your estate plan up to date. Remember to check in regularly with your estate plan and to make any changes that may be necessary due to life events, changes in law, or changes in other circumstances. In addition, regularly updating your account beneficiaries can ensure your accounts remain in line with your goals for the legacy you want to create.

During this Estate Planning Awareness Week, let us all take the time to learn more about the importance of estate planning and the ideas we need to act on in order to establish a strong estate plan. In times of great uncertainty, an estate plan can bring much needed peace. For more information, please reach out to our office and schedule a time to meet.