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When should you start your estate planning? How about right now?

Posted on: June 22, 2018
Family taking selife

Written By: Joe Cesta 

Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do to ease stress and financial burden on your loved ones.  Yet, it is all too often ignored.  It makes sense why so many of us put estate planning on the back burner.  It is not fun to think about what happens if we become incapacitated or pass away.  But taking a little time to work though it can make a world of difference for your family.

 

will for older couple on bench

The foundation of any estate plan is a will.  Your will lists who inherits your assets when you pass away.  If you do not have a will, that decision is made according to state law rather than your personal choices.  A will also allows you to name your preferred executor.  Your executor is charged with the responsibility of distributing your assets, addressing the claims of creditors, and filing necessary paperwork with the probate court.  You want to choose someone you trust.

 

A will is especially important if you have a child that is a minor, because it gives you the opportunity to tell the probate court who you would recommend to serve as your child’s guardian and to manage your child’s inheritance until your child is old enough to responsibly handle the funds.

 

power of attorney document

Two healthcare related documents that are often considered in estate planning are a living will and a healthcare power of attorney.  A living will allows you to make your healthcare decisions in advance, should you suffer a terminal condition in the future and find yourself unable to make your own healthcare decisions.  Essentially, it allows you to decide whether and when you want to “pull the plug” on life support devices.  A healthcare power of attorney allows you to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should be you unable to make them yourself.

A durable power of attorney lets you appoint an agent to make financial decisions on your behalf.  It can be immediately effective, so your agent can act on your behalf right now.  Or it can spring into effect after the occurrence of a future event, such as your incapacity.

 

Finally, a life insurance policy can provide you the peace of mind of knowing your beneficiaries will have the funds necessary to satisfy debts, funeral expenses, and perhaps provide them additional inheritance.  It is important to specifically name the beneficiaries of your policy.  Otherwise, the proceeds go into your estate, which takes longer and costs more.

 

1st national bank lebanon ohio

Estate planning may feel like a hard topic to address.  But it is an important one.  At 1st National Bank we want to help make sure our customers’ interests are protected.  We have a wealth management team and attorneys on staff.  We would be happy to help you craft your estate plan to satisfy your individual goals.

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