Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day season, and nothing quite says I love you like a comprehensive Estate Plan! There is no better way to live out your vows of in sickness and in health till death do us part quite like creating an Estate Plan that covers all situations that may arise in the future. By developing an Estate Plan, you can ensure that you and your spouse are prepared for any health issues that may occur, whether that be an unexpected coma, Alzheimer’s disease, or anything else in between.
Here at Trust & WIll, we understand the value in taking care of those you love the most, and preparing as best you can for unforeseen circumstances. Show your love by giving the gift of estate planning this Valentine’s Day!
Below are five tips you can use to create your Estate Plan and say I love you:
Get the Estate Planning Conversation Started
If you have reached a point where you and your partner plan to build a life together, it will be important to start discussing your Estate Plan if you have not done so yet. Although it may seem daunting - as estate planning can often feel complex, getting the conversation started now shows your partner that you care about your future and discussing how you both plan to handle unexpected situations. You know that your love is real if you begin end of life planning together!
The first step toward creating your customized Estate Plan is opening up a discussion with your partner. In these conversations, it will be important to listen to each other’s opinions and make sure each of your concerns are addressed. Start asking questions such as:
What do you want to include in your Advanced Healthcare Directive?
Do you want to create a joint Will together?
Who will your Financial Power of Attorney be?
If you have children, who would you want to have responsibility for them in the event that both of you unexpectedly pass away?
Create an Advanced Healthcare Directive
Show your partner you love them by making an effort to get both you and your partner’s Advanced Healthcare Directives completed. An Advanced Healthcare Directive is a legal document that specifies how an individual wants their medical needs to be taken care of in the event that they can no longer make the decisions themselves. For example, this situation may occur if you are in a coma or given a diagnosis of brain death.
Having these details written out in an Advanced Healthcare Directive will help ensure that all of your wishes are met, and give you a semblance of control over your medical decisions even when you cannot speak on them for yourself. Showing your partner that you care about their opinions on their health in all situations shows you love them, and that you will be by their side backing up their wishes no matter what.
Create Nomination of Guardianship Documents
If you and your partner have children together, or if you or your partner have children from past relationships that you now see as your own, demonstrate your love by creating Nomination of Guardianship documents. Nomination of Guardianship documents are legal documents that allow you to name someone as a guardian of your minor children in the event that you pass away unexpectedly or are no longer able to care for them yourself.
If you do not currently have legal authority over the children in your partner’s life from a past relationship, it is important to ensure you will be able to still care for your partner’s biological children in their absence. Nomination of Guardianship documents will do just that. They will also help you put a plan into place for your joint children if the situation occurs where you both unexpectedly pass away, as you both will be able to decide on someone you collectively trust to raise your children in your absence. Raising children together is likely the most important part of your life together. There is no better way to let your partner know you love them then by protecting the children you both love so dearly.
Create a Joint Will
It is possible that before you entered into a long-term committed relationship you may have created a Will, which is a legal document that allows you to leave your assets to your loved ones. However, now that you are creating a life with your partner, you will want to consider creating a joint Will for all of your collective assets, taking into account all of the important people in each of your lives that you will want included within your joint Will. Taking the time to create a joint Will with your partner will show your long-term commitment to them,
Make Your Partner the Beneficiary of Your 401k Accounts
Once you are committed to your partner long-term, you will want to consider making them the Beneficiary of your 401k accounts. By making your partner the Beneficiary of your 401k accounts, you are ensuring that they will receive all money you have saved for your retirement. Nothing quite says I love you more than working to take care of them even from the grave! Speak with the companies your accounts are under to find out what you need to do to get your partner labeled as the beneficiary.
Preparing for whatever circumstances may arise in the future is yet another way of saying to your loved ones, “I love you.” Fortunately, technology has made estate planning easier than ever before and our online estate planning services can help you put together your own customized, state-specific documents all from your own computer. At Trust & Will, we have all aspects of your Estate Plan covered: from your Will to your Trust-Based Estate Plan.
Don’t wait another second! Check out our estate planning quiz today to help you get started.