Estate planning is often thought of as something that is only for the very wealthy. In reality, creating a thorough estate plan is an important step for every adult in Louisiana. Even if someone thinks his or her estate is too small to require any type of future planning, it is important to consider how not having an estate plan can financially impact loved ones.
It can be uncomfortable to think about one’s own death, so it might not have crossed some people’s minds to think about the financial implications of their death. The costs associated with dying and funerals are much higher than they were in the past, having gone from $3,000 in the 1980s to an average of $9,000 in 2019. This figure does not cover everything either, nor does it take into account medical bills for end-of-life care.
There are a number of ways one can use an estate plan to address these costs. For example, one might purchase life insurance as part of his or her estate plan to help cover funeral costs and to provide extra financial support to loved ones. He or she can also create a living will that outlines preferences regarding end of life care, and an accompanying health care power of attorney so someone can make those decisions. Finally, a trustworthy person should be given the task of making financial decisions for the estate upon one’s death. This person will make sure that money is properly distributed, any remaining debts are paid and handle other financial matters during succession.
Of course there is more to an estate plan than just covering funeral costs and end-of-life wishes. A good estate plan should also include a will that dictates how one’s assets should be distributed. For some people in Louisiana, it might also be a good idea to use a trust. Which options are most appropriate is not always clear though, so most people would be well advised to speak with an experienced attorney during this process.