There are two main misconceptions when it comes to estate planning. The biggest one is that estate plans are only for the wealthy, or those whose assets are in the high six figures to seven figures and upwards. The second biggest misconception is probably even more pervasive: that estate plans are more for your loved ones than for yourself.
While estate plans certainly exist to better divide your assets among your loved ones after your passing, there are several important steps that can be taken to make sure that you're setting yourself up for the future that you want, as well.
Focus on yourself
Forbes recently ran a breakdown of important "me first" documents: paperwork that focuses on your future first.
Particularly, they recommend that everyone draft the following documents:
- An advanced health care directive (or a medical power of attorney): One of the key documents that can provide you peace of mind: it allows you to choose who can make decisions about your care should you become too incapacitated to do so for yourself.
- A living will: this document lets your loved ones know what kind of care and treatment you'd like.
- A durable power of attorney: a document that designates another person to handle your financial affairs if you should become incapacitated.
- A revocable living trust: a way to manage your assets.
- A HIPPA release: designate who you'd wish to have access to your medical information.
- An Organ Donation Authorization: An altruistic way to ensure that you can help others after your passing.
These documents are just the beginning of your estate planning journey. To really make sure that your estate is properly taken care of, you should meet with a professional who can walk you through all the possibilities.