If you don't have kids, money, or property, then you may put off estate planning until you've accumulated more wealth. However, even if you don't have many assets, you still need to make plans about what will happen to you if you become incapacitated or die. Estate planning is more than just taking care of your kids and distributing your possessions after you're gone. It also includes appointing someone to look after your interested if you're no longer able to. Here are a few things you may want to do when planning a simple estate.
Create A Living Will
A living will is also called an advanced directive. It outlines your preferences for medical care if you aren't able to make decisions for yourself. For instance, if you're in an auto accident and left in a coma, you may be kept alive with a feeding tube and breathing machine if you don't have a living will that allows doctors to remove equipment that keeps your body alive even though there is no hope of brain recovery.
Appoint A Power Of Attorney
You may also want to appoint someone as your power of attorney. This legal document gives the person the power to make decisions on your behalf when you can't do so. Appointing someone power of attorney in advance is a much easier process than making them go through the court process of becoming a guardian later. Plus, there is always the chance you'll receive a court-appointed guardian and then all decisions will be out of the hands of your family. When you appoint someone power of attorney, they can make medical decisions and also act on your behalf when it comes to financial matters such as accessing your bank account.
Stipulate Final Arrangements
You may not have any property to divide or money to distribute, but you may have a preference when it comes to your funeral and burial. You can make all this known in a formal document that is kept with your will and estate papers. This can save your family from having to make difficult decisions if you pass unexpectedly. If you don't have life insurance or money for a funeral, you can make it known that you're okay with a cremation and private ceremony so your family doesn't have to take on the debt of your funeral. Of course, letting everyone know your wishes while you're alive is good too, but leaving instructions for your survivors helps them know they're doing the right thing and following your wishes.
Make A Simple Will
Even if you don't have money or property now, you might have some in the future. Creating a will now covers your future belongings so you are protected until you can update your will. The will can be simple at first and designate an executor and the heirs of anything you have of value now or in the future.
By having a basic estate plan in place, you know your interests will be protected when you're not able to make decisions and any wealth you have will stay with your family without getting the probate court involved. Start with the basics and expand on your plan as your life evolves so you and your family are always protected.
For more information, talk with a lawyer like Christena Silvey Coleman CSC Law, LLC.