What is Estate Planning and Why it’s Important for You, Yes, You!

In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal shared “The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die”, which highlighted the profound financial repercussions that can occur when legal documents are not prepared in advance. While contemplating end-of-life matters is not a pleasant prospect, addressing and preparing for the inevitable can prove instrumental in alleviating unnecessary stress and financial burdens for your family and loved ones. At Finkelstein & Partners, we recognize the importance of this process and urge all our clients to consider estate planning as a crucial step towards safeguarding your legacy.

Estate planning goes beyond the mere distribution of assets; it encompasses several legal documents designed to address various facets of your life. Among these, the primary documents requiring careful preparation are your Will and Power of Attorney. These essential legal instruments serve a multitude of purposes:

Guardianship for Children: Your Will allows you to legally designate who will assume the responsibility of caring for your children, ensuring their well-being and preserving your assets for them or other beneficiaries until they reach an age of self-management.

Streamlined Asset Distribution: By having a well-crafted Will, you can circumvent the complexities of the court system, preventing your financial, estate, and personal assets from getting entangled in protracted legal proceedings.

Healthcare Decision Authority: A Power of Attorney empowers you to appoint one or more individuals to make crucial healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity, providing a clear directive even when you cannot express your wishes.

Financial Affairs Management: Beyond healthcare, a Power of Attorney extends to legal and financial affairs, allowing trusted individuals to act on your behalf. Contrary to common misconceptions, your spouse does not inherently possess a natural power of attorney.

Disability Protection: With a comprehensive estate plan, you can reduce the risk of a guardianship proceeding in case of disability, ensuring that your wishes are respected and carried out without unnecessary legal hurdles.

Once these documents are drafted, signed, and your Power of Attorney determined, the next crucial step is transparent communication. Detailing in writing the location of your legal documents and advising your children or other family members is paramount. This proactive approach enhances the efficacy of your estate plan, avoiding confusion and potential disputes in the future.

Proactive steps in estate planning can lead to a more secure and stress-free future. Our dedicated estate planning team will carefully review all aspects of your circumstances and will advise as to the best approach to handle crucial issues.