Unfortunately, not everyone in Kansas City creates an estate plan while they are still in good health. Unless they have simply reached a very old age, people cannot predict when they will be nearing the end of their lives, as a grave illness or disabling accident could strike anyone, young or old. However, even if you’ve never created an estate plan, it is not too late. Proper preparation can be key when you are reaching the end of your life, so that you can rest assured that your wishes are likely to be met.

First of all, if you are seriously ill or injured, prepare for the fact that you may become incapacitated. When it comes to financial matters, an immediately effective durable power of attorney naming a trusted individual may need to be drafted so that it can be effective without having to get a doctor’s letter. Moreover, if you have confidence in the person you selected to serve as your attorney in fact while you are still able to monitor that person’s actions, you can rest assured that they will make appropriate decisions once you become incapacitated.

In addition, some individuals wish to keep their estates from having to go through the probate process. In order for this to happen, an individual may need to create a revocable trust. To make such a trust effective, assets must be transferred into it. If not, it may not be honored once you pass away.

Moreover, if you have life insurance policies, annuities and retirement accounts, make sure that you have selected the appropriate beneficiaries to these accounts. Not doing so could lead to probate costs that otherwise could have been avoided. Also, make sure that such policies have not lapsed. That being said, it may be possible, in some circumstances, to reinstate these policies before you pass away if they have indeed lapsed.

While this post doesn’t cover all estate planning topics that should be addressed if you are reaching the end of your life, it does give you a general idea of what you may want to include in your estate plan. Young or old, in good health or bad, estate planning is a good idea for everyone who wishes to retain some control over how their affairs will be handled if they become incapacitated and how their assets will be handled after they pass away.

Source: Nasdaq, “6 Estate Planning Tips for Those Approaching Death,” John M. Goralka, July 26, 2016

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