Wallet Wednesday: Basics of Estate Planning

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) Baxter Hahn with Wells Fargo Advisors in Florence joined News13 NOW at 9 a.m. Wednesday to talk about the basics of estate planning. As summarized by Well Fargo Advisors, they are:

  • Everyone needs an estate plan – not just the wealthy.
  • There are five essential estate planning documents.
  • An estate planning attorney can help draw up the necessary documents.

Even if you’re not well-to-do, consider all the assets you own: bank accounts, investment accounts, 401(k) or 403(b) plan accounts, your house, cars, jewelry, family heirlooms, etc. Your estate includes all this and more. Your estate plan can determine what happens to all these assets when you die.

A good estate plan will also focus on taking care of you as you age or if you become ill or incapacitated. Whether you’re wealthy or not has little to do with it.

There are five essential documents for estate planning. Watch the video to learn more about the following:

  • A will provides instructions for distributing your assets to your beneficiaries when you die. In it, you name a personal representative (executor) to pay final expenses and taxes and distribute your remaining assets.
  • A durable power of attorney lets you give a trusted individual management power over your assets if you can’t manage them yourself. This document is effective only while you’re alive.
  • A health care power of attorney lets you choose someone to make medical decisions for you if something happens and you can’t make them yourself.
  • A living will expresses your intentions regarding the use of life-sustaining measures if you are terminally ill. It doesn’t give anyone the authority to speak for you.
  • By transferring assets to a revocable living trust, you can provide for continued management of your financial affairs during your lifetime, after your death, and even for generations to come.

A financial advisor can help get the process started and work with an attorney to to finalize the document.s