There is an old saying: “You can’t take it with you”. You can, however, make informed decisions about who does take it after you die. You can also make this process less complicated and less expensive for those you leave behind.
For many young couples, establishing guardians and financial support for their children are paramount issues in the event of an untimely death. Older individuals may be more concerned about eliminating estate (“death”) taxes or preserving assets in the event of a disability or long-term nursing home care. Others seek to avoid probate court proceedings by establishing a revocable “living” trust.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which a person designates another to make financial decisions/transactions on his or her behalf. This is helpful as a matter of convenience or in the event the person becomes incapacitated and cannot perform these functions themselves.
A Health Care Directive provides end-of-life instructions on how an individual wishes to be treated (or not treated) when they are in a terminal condition. Often an agent will be designated to make decisions if the person is unable to communicate at that time.