Do you have a will? If yes, is it up to date with people you chose to serve as executor and guardian? Do you want to add or remove any beneficiaries?
Financial Power of Attorney
Do you have a durable financial power of attorney that names trusted people to take care of your financial matters if you are unable to? How will your bills get paid if you are in the hospital?
A living will is a healthcare document that details your end-of-life decisions. Do you want to be kept alive by artificial means? Are there some procedures you want to refuse (typically for religious reasons)? For your living will to take effect, two doctors must agree that you have a terminal condition or are in a permanently unconscious state, and death is being prolonged with no reasonable chance for recovery. The people you list in this document are merely for contact purposes–they have no decision-making authority.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney allows you to name people who will have authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. If you have a living will, your healthcare power of attorney cannot override your wishes in your living will.
Why have life insurance? Obvious reasons include providing money to those dependent on your income if you die. Life insurance can also be used to pay off your debts so that you don’t burden your family with your financial liabilities, such as medical debt if you were hospitalized or had a lengthy illness. You can purchase a policy designed to pay off the mortgage on the house if you want to be sure your children and family can keep the family home. If you own a business, life insurance can be purchased to enable your business partners to buy out your shares and keep the business running smoothly.
There are more components to an estate plan, but the list above explains your first considerations when starting to plan. This list is specific to Ohio. Documents described above might be different in your state.
If you have any estate planning questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.