Estate planning is a topic that most people do not want to discuss. After all, it can feel uncomfortable to think about death and what you want to do with your finances once you are gone. However, it is important to get your estate planning done so that your assets go to the people you want them to.
If you are new to estate planning, here are the four basic elements of a good estate plan that should have you feeling peace of mind.
1. A trust
In order to control your assets, either while you are living or after you have passed, you need a trust. A trust agreement creates this legal entity and allows you to dictate how you want your assets used, who has access to them and when they are available.
2. A will
While a trust gives you the ability to manage (or have a trustee manage) your assets, a will lets you outline in writing exactly who you want to get what. Almost all estates have to go through probate in Iowa, so having your wishes in a will can ensure that your beneficiaries get you assets as you see fit.
3. Financial power of attorney
If you become incapacitated, a financial power of attorney will make financial decisions on your behalf. Estate planning allows you to decide who this person will be and gives them legal authority to utilize your money.
4. Health care power of attorney
Like a financial power of attorney, a health care power of attorney has legal authority to make medical decisions for you should you be unable.
Getting all of these elements in place ensures that your estate has protection and that you can provide for your family even after death.