As you embrace your life changes and follow the goals you set, we would like to encourage you to include Estate Planning on your list. Most of us do not realize the importance of having a Last Will & Testament, a Living Will with Medical Surrogate, Prenuptial/Post-nuptial Agreements, or a Power of Attorney until it is too late. Do you know which option would suit you and your family best? You need to be prepared. Knowledge is the best weapon against uncertainty; knowing that you retain control of your future and the management of your assets is the only way to live a life in tranquility. Here is some relevant information to help you decide which one is best for you:
Last Will and Testament: comes into effect after you pass. It is created to avoid the common problems of the distribution of an inheritance and to direct and control how your estate is distributed. It is also used to declare your last wishes and testimonies. Furthermore, the creator can leave a testamentary guardianship for minors or incapacitated adults under their legal care. A Last Will and Testament appoints your personal representative and its substitute if is necessary. This representative is the person responsible to protect your last wishes. He or she will defend your Last Will and Testament in court and protect your assets while the final distribution takes place. The need of having a Last Will and Testament is not due to you having many assets; it is necessary to bring guidance and peace to your love ones in a moment when they need it the most.
Living Will with Medical Surrogate: allows the creator to control and dictate how they want to be treated if incapacitated. It allows a third party to substitute the creator in making all types of medical decisions if they are unable to due to a medical condition or circumstance. It is the best document to avoid long legal battles and family conflicts. A Living Will with a Medical Surrogate guarantees that your family and the medical personal will follow your wishes when you are not capable to express them.
Prenuptial Agreement: is entered into prior to marriage by the people intending to be married. The contents of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but it commonly includes provisions for division of property, the management of past, present and future assets, separates incomes and avoids spousal support in the event of divorce or death of one of the spouses. It is commonly used to protect and separate the income of one of the spouses when there is a child support or alimony order from a jurisdiction where the household income issued for calculations.
Postnuptial Agreement: is executed after a couple gets married to settle the couple's affairs and assets in the event of a separation or divorce. The contents can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property, the management of past, present and future assets, separates incomes and avoids spousal support in the event of divorce or death of one of the spouses.
Power of Attorney: allows for a third party to act on behalf of the person creating it. It can be used for multiples purposes, such as buying and selling property, giving partial guardianship for minor children, attending meetings, opening accounts, among others. Power can be limited, durable or for specific purposes.