Three elements of a basic estate plan

Many people think that, for whatever reason, creating an estate plan can wait. You’re likely doing yourself and your loved a disservice by subscribing to that belief.

If you haven’t gotten your future charted out due to fear that it may take too much time or money, a basic estate plan may fit your current needs.

Designate your wishes

Becoming incapacitated or passing away without communicating your wishes in writing can leave loved ones with the responsibility of making difficult, often contentious, decisions on your behalf. According to Bankrate, establishing the following three elements of your estate plan can help you leave less to chance:

  • A will. This legal document allows you to name the beneficiaries of your estate. This could include the designation of your real property, investments and financial accounts. Parents can also appoint a guardian to care for their children.
  • An advance health care directive. Specifying medical preferences before they’re necessary can protect your family members from guilt stemming from making choices about your medical attention. This includes resuscitation efforts, pain management and organ donation.
  • General Power of Attorney. Authorizing someone you trust to handle your estate can help minimize financial challenges if you’re unable to manage matters yourself.

An estate plan doesn’t have to be particularly complex to create once you decide how to pass down your assets to your loved ones. While you never know when questions about your wishes might arise, you likely want to do what you can to make sure your family knows how you wanted to handle your estate.