Too many Americans fail to take a necessary step for protecting their financial future as well as that of their loved ones. A recent survey by Caring.com shows only four out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have an estate plan in place, such as a will or trust.

Estate planning does not only cover how your possessions will be distributed after you die, but it also takes crucial steps for protecting your children as well as your financial and medical well-being.

Why do you need an estate plan?

Besides protecting the ones you love, estate planning makes good financial sense by minimizing taxes both before and after you die. Here are some primary considerations:

  • Create a will: A will is the most basic estate planning document as it spells out how you want your assets to be distributed. If you die without a will in place, a court will decide who gets what and how much.
  • Guardianship: If you have young children, it’s crucial to designate a guardian who will care for them if both parents are unable to do so. Choose someone with similar values, is financially stable and loves your kids.
  • Durable power of attorney: A DPOA allows you to designate someone you trust who will make your financial decisions if you are unable to make them yourself due to illness or injury. This is usually a family member or close friend who will carry out your wishes.
  • Healthcare proxy: Just as a DPOA will handle your financial matters, the healthcare proxy will make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
  • Advance directive: Also known as a living will, this document details your wishes for end-of-life care, including what type of medical treatments are acceptable.

Think of estate planning as essential financial planning

While few of us want to think about the world after we’re gone, putting a sound estate plan in place while you’re still here and healthy can provide peace of mind for you and your family. An experienced estate planning attorney here in New Hampshire understands each family is different and will work with you to find a plan that meets your needs.