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Estate Planning 101: A Guide to the Basics

Less than half of Americans have any type of estate plan. While no one wants to think about dying, estate planning is an opportunity to make your wishes known, ensure you get the care you want while you’re alive, and help your loved ones through a difficult time. Planning your estate does not need to be difficult. Here are 4 simple steps to plan for the future from Albuquerque Home Care Assistance.

1. Write a will

If you die without a will, your estate will go through probate and a judge will decide how your estate is divided among your loved ones. Your spouse and children will receive first dibs on your estate, then other relatives. The probate process can be long, leaving your heirs without access to money or property for months or even years.

2. Prepare a living will

Estate planning is not just for when you die. Three documents can give you control over your care while you are still alive. A durable power of attorney allows you to designate someone who will manage your legal and financial affairs if you are no longer able to. Advanced directives and a power of attorney for health care allow you to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do so. You will also need a release-of-information form so doctors can share medical information with your representatives.

3. Decide how assets will be divided

The next step is deciding how your assets and belongings will be divided. Prepare a list of all of your assets, their values, and whom you would like to inherit from your estate. Otherwise, your spouse and children will be left to decide who gets what and this can lead to hurt feelings and familial disputes. You may want to state in your will that you have a signed, separate list of bequests so you can decide exactly who will receive your belongings and other assets.

4. Make end-of-life decisions

Finally, estate planning allows you to make important end-of-life arrangements. You may wish to plan your memorial and funeral, prepay your funeral, or simply make your wishes known as to whether you want to be cremated or buried. Be sure to include life insurance information so beneficiaries know there is a policy to pay for funeral expenses.

When planning your estate, you might also want to make provisions for home care should you decide to age in place and need additional support. At Home Care Assistance, we provide comprehensive 24/7 care as well as flexible part-time home care for seniors in Albuquerque who require minimal support with basic tasks like running errands, cooking, and light housekeeping. To learn more, give us a call at 505-798-0800 and speak with a friendly Care Manager today.