We’ve said before that estate planning is not just for those with great wealth. it is for anyone who will leave loved ones behind and who has an interest in having a say in how the resources they leave behind are used. Estate planning is more than just numbers. It sets guidelines for care of dependents and distribution of assets.
While a Fee-Only financial planner can help you figure out how to reach financial goals that include leaving resources to help care for yourself and others, it helps if you know your personal stance on a number of issues. Some financial experts refer to this as the ‘softer side’ of estate planning.
Care at the End of Life: You may assume that the more assets you have, the better the care you will receive but you also have to put something in writing so your desires are known. An Advanced Directive is one document that can help in this area. For example, would you want to be in a facility or would prefer in-home care?
Care for Loved Ones: You can designate guardians for your minor children and see that they have access to funds for their care. It is up to you to secure a commitment from a guardian you trust and discuss your values and vision for the care of your children. There are some things that legal documents don’t cover.
You can also find someone to care for your pets and use a pet trust or a will to provide for your pets. With a will, you can leave assets that ideally someone will use to care for your pet. A pet trust (legal in every state except one) would include details pertaining to the care of your pets and how the money is to be used.
Personal Objects: Much has been made of the fact that Shakespeare left his “second best bed” to his wife. But it is that kind of specificity that ensures that your possessions are distributed as you wish.