Most people who are relatively young, do not have a great deal of wealth or do not have children may be under the impression that they can avoid the estate planning process in total. This could end up being a big mistake, however, if something were to happen to you. Don’t take the short-term view of estate planning as something that only kicks in after you’ve passed away.
Many of the more durable and critical estate planning documents actually reflect your wishes if something happens to you while you’re still alive. For example, do you have a power of attorney that enables another individual to step in and make decisions on your behalf if you were to become unable to do so? This could generate significant legal consequences and problems for your loved ones if you were to become incapacitated by a disability or following a car accident. During these situations, your family already has enough to worry about to ensure that you get the appropriate care.
Trying to figure out your own wishes or arguing amongst one another about what your intentions would have been if you were around to make such a decision can only amplify the stress. Furthermore, only legally valid documents such as a power of attorney enable another person to step in and make decisions on your behalf. This may change over time so if you have an outdated power of attorney, now is a good time to reflect back and determine whether or not it needs any updates. An experienced estate planning attorney in New Jersey can help you with this comprehensive process.