What to Know About Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts

Shandra Martinez

| 2 min read

You can plan for your future now and protect your family by legally documenting your wishes and how you want them to be carried out if you’re incapacitated or following your death. Having a plan in place can help eliminate the financial, mental and emotional burdens of distributing assets, and provide security and comfort for your loved ones.
Your estate is made up of all the property you own; your assets, including cash, savings, investments, retirement accounts, life insurance, homes, land, vacation property, automobiles, clothing and jewelry.
Estate planning is the process by which an individual or family arranges the transfer of assets in anticipation of death.
Power of Attorney, or POA, is a legal document that designates an individual to make decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated or not physically present to make decisions on your own.
There are different types of POAs:
  • A durable POA is a designated individual who will handle your non-health or non-medical affairs, including paying your bills, depositing checks and filing your tax returns.
  • A medical POA is a designated individual who will make medical decisions for you.
  • A will is a legal document that directs who will receive your assets and property at the time of your death.
  • A trust is a legal arrangement where someone you select manages and holds title to your assets and property, and makes distributions to beneficiaries.
  • Guardianship is a legal document that will designate an individual to obtain custody and care for your minor children if you pass away.
When you’re ready to put a plan in place, you can enlist help from professionals, including a lawyer, financial planner, accountant, life insurance adviser, banker or broker.
Learn more about preparing for the future in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ webinar, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts. You can also sign up for future employer- or individual-focused webinars and guided meditations here.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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