Typically, when a person thinks of estate planning, they think about who will get their house, car or family heirlooms after they die. While estate distribution takes up a large portion of a will, there are important matters that also need to be discussed.
In particular, you should be prepared to name people to fulfill two very important roles:
The executor of your estate
After you pass away, your estate won’t immediately be distributed to your friends and family. It could be weeks to months before a will is verified and read. In the meantime, someone will need to look after your assets, make sure that all interested parties are notified, file your final taxes and get probate started.
What you’ll need is an executor of your estate. What is an executor of an estate? Essentially an executor is a guardian or caretaker over your assets. That could mean locking down your home, watering your plants or locating and storing any jewelry or valuables – in addition to handling all of the technicalities of probate.
You’ll get to decide your executor. While anyone over 18 years of age can be your executor, you may have to consider if they are trustworthy and responsible enough to care for your assets.
Powers of attorney
While an executor of an estate looks after your assets, a power of attorney (POA) looks after you. If you are ever unable to speak for yourself, the person who holds you medical power of attorney can make your medical decisions for you, while a financial power of attorney gives someone the ability to pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and sell your property (if needed0.
If you’re planning your estate, you may need help to ensure your will is valid. You may need to reach out for legal assistance that can take you through the right steps when making a will.