New Year’s Eve is upon us, and 2020 is right around the corner. As 2019 draws to a close, many of us are making our resolutions for the new year. For most Americans, that means planning to exercise more, lose weight, and save money. All of these are excellent resolutions that will improve your life. But even as you plan on improving your health and taking better care of your bank account, you should consider a resolution that will improve your family’s life – planning your estate.
Estate planning includes the creation of three essential legal documents. First is the will, which lays out your wishes after your death and names an executor, who will carry out those wishes. Then, there is the power of attorney, a document that grants someone else authority to manage your affairs. Finally, there is the advance health care directive, which states your wishes for medical treatment, if you are terminally ill and allows someone else to carry out those wishes with your health care provider.
Planning your estate is one of the best things you can do for your family. According to a 2019 survey, 76% of Americans agreed with this sentiment… and yet only 40% actually have a will. Of those polled, the majority of people who did have an estate plan in place were older adults, while younger people put less importance on an estate plan. Another study indicates only 18% of people over 55 have all of the recommended estate planning essentials– a will, a power of attorney, and an advance health care directive.