It is easy for people to justify not creating an estate plan. The whole process of considering your death or medical decline is unpleasant and potentially stressful. People also think that the possibility of future changes to their situation or family might mean that it’s better to wait.
However, you never know when tragedy might strike and affect you and the people you love. Estate planning as soon as possible is best for your peace of mind and for the protection of those who depend on you.
Creating a last will is a necessity most people recognize. You will also want to consider drafting powers of attorney during your estate planning process.
Why is it so important to write out a last will?
You may think that the people you love already know what to do with your property so you don’t need an estate plan. What you may not realize is that your loved ones don’t have any authority over your assets when you die.
If you don’t have a last will on record, the Louisiana probate courts will apply intestate succession laws to your property, prioritizing immediate family members. If you don’t have any immediate family, your assets might eventually become the property of the state.
Even more concerning, if you have children and die without a last will, there may not be a guardian to protect them. Your children could wind up in foster care until they reach adulthood with no one to protect them.
Why are powers of attorney valuable?
Many people feel an aversion to powers of attorney because they fear giving up authority over their assets or medical decisions. However, when properly drafted, powers of attorney do not put you in a vulnerable position.
Instead, they protect you when you are at your most vulnerable. You can limit the circumstances in which a power of attorney takes effect and also what authority you pass to another person. You might limit their options to only accessing a single bank account or paying certain bills. You might also just give them the authority to make specific medical decisions on your behalf.
What matters is that there will be someone who can handle your household affairs and your medical care in the event of your incapacitation. Proper estate planning protects you from the unknown and protects your loved ones from difficult decisions and regrets during a medical emergency or after your death.