Estate Planning is Like Building a Snowman

If you leave out important documents when you create your estate plan, it is unlikely to accomplish all of your goals, and the benefits you thought you were gaining could melt away.

Step 1: Shape a strong foundation—the trust

The foundation of a snowman is the large snowball at the bottom that acts as its base. Likewise, a trust is the foundation of your estate plan. It enables you to name a trusted individual as co-trustee or successor trustee to carry out your wishes upon your death and to manage your affairs if you become so ill you cannot do it yourself.

Step 2: Form a solid core—the medical power of attorney

Additional strength and stability are provided by the snowman’s middle snowball. You can similarly solidify your estate plan by executing a medical power of attorney that names a trusted agent who can make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them for yourself or are unable to communicate them to the relevant health care providers.

Step 3: Cap it off—the financial power of attorney

The third step in building a snowman is adding the snowball representing the “head.” Although it is typically smaller than the snowman’s middle and lower sections, it is no less important. In an estate plan, another essential document is a financial power of attorney. It authorizes someone you choose to make financial decisions for you if you are unconscious, too ill to make or communicate them yourself, or otherwise unavailable to do so.

Step 4: Extend a hand—the funeral instructions for your loved ones

Next, branches are inserted to act as the snowman’s “arms.” You can give your family one last hug by making your wishes for your funeral or memorial service known using a remembrance and services memorandum. Most people would rather avoid thinking about their own funeral, but if you don’t make these plans and arrangements in advance, the burden will fall on your grieving family after you pass away.

Step 5: Add some personality—the ethical will or letter of instruction

No snowman is complete without the coals and carrot used to create its “face” and add a little personality. You can use an ethical will, sometimes called a letter of instruction or legacy letter, to infuse your estate plan with your personality. An ethical will provides a way to communicate important knowledge, experiences, and values you have acquired over the course of your life to your family and loved ones.

Don’t Give Us the Cold Shoulder—Call Us Today

Make sure your estate plan has more than a snowman’s chance in the tropics of accomplishing your wishes. As experienced estate planning attorneys, we can help you create a comprehensive estate plan. Don’t wait for a cold day in July—call us today to set up a meeting! (614) 429-1053

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