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What Should Be on My Estate Planning Checklist? New Haven Will and Trust Attorney

  • By Steven Rubin
  • |
  • Posted September 23, 2022

Thinking about what will happen if your physical or mental health starts to decline can be a daunting prospect. Even more overwhelming can be the idea of imagining how the people you love will manage after you die. However, it is important to plan for these eventualities to ensure that your affairs will remain under control while you’re still alive and to avoid creating confusion or conflict amongst your family members when you’ve gone.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to estate planning, but here are some essential steps you can take while you are still healthy to put yourself and your loved ones in a position to better handle any eventuality.

  1. Outline Your Health Care Wishes

Making your medical treatment wishes clear in advance will avoid misunderstandings in the event of a health care crisis. Ways to do this include:

  • Choosing someone to be your healthcare agent (also known as a health care proxy) so they can make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • Creating a living will, in which you specify what types of medical treatment and long-term care options you prefer.
  • Creating a Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), which is a set of physician-signed orders for patients with terminal illnesses. Even if you are healthy, you can create a MOLST form that will only go into effect if you face an end-of-life situation.
  • Registering as an organ donor if you wish.
  • Informing your loved ones about your interment wishes.

Be sure to make copies of these forms for your health care agents and your estate attorney.

  1. Choose an Executor

The executor of your will is responsible for managing the distribution of your estate. They do not need to be a legal professional but should be somebody you trust and who has good organizational skills.

  1. Protect Your Financial Interests

Helpful steps to take to ensure the protection of your financial interests include:

  • Assigning a financial power of attorney who can manage your assets in the event that you are no longer able to do so yourself.
  • Discuss your trust with your heirs, if applicable.
  • Examine any tax issues that may affect your beneficiaries.
  1. Finalize Your Will

If you do not already have a will that specifies your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets, speak to an estate planning attorney so that you can get started on creating one as soon as possible.

If you have already written a will, you’ll want to make sure that it is updated to reflect any major changes in your life. This may include remarriage, the deaths of named beneficiaries, or the births of any additional heirs.

  1. Contact a New Haven Will and Trust Attorney

When it comes to estate planning, some steps are more straightforward than others. Having an experienced will and trust attorney on your side can help you be certain that you are taking care of everything that is necessary for you, your family, and the unique situation you are in. If you need help getting started, we are here to offer guidance and assistance. Contact our New Haven office at 203-877-7511 to schedule an initial consultation.