There is more to an estate plan than creating a will. People with children or other loved ones they care for probably consider who they will name as guardians for their loved ones after they pass, but there are additional important roles to fill in every estate plan.
These roles are the people who will speak for you when you are unable and who will follow your wishes.
When you create your will, you should assign an executor to carry out your wishes. The executor is responsible for gathering your assets, paying any debts and reporting an accounting of your estate to the court before distributing your assets to your beneficiaries. Choose someone you trust to follow through with integrity and honesty.
2. Power of attorney
A power of attorney is someone you choose to act on your behalf regarding finances or health care. They must put your welfare ahead of their own opinions. There are several types of powers of attorney, each one specific in the powers they hold and when they become effective. Choose the document that fits your needs.
3. Health care proxy
A health care proxy is a person you designate to make medical decisions for you in the event of your incapacitation. These decisions can include anything from consenting to surgery to end-of-life care decisions.
You may assign the same person for all three of these duties, or you may choose separate individuals for each role. Consider the responsibilities and duties for each job and make your designations with care.