Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Monday, November 12, 2018

Why Should I Prepare an Estate Plan?

Estate plans serve two major purposes: to prepare you and your loved ones for potential incapacity and certain death. Depending upon your individual purpose for creating an estate plan, you can choose different elements. That is why it is so important to understand these two main purposes of having an estate plan.


Under the law, an individual is considered to be incapacitated if he or she is not able to understand the nature and potential results of a legal proceeding. An individual can be both mentally incapacitated, as well as physically incapacitated.

In estate planning, incapacity means that an individual is unable to control or make decisions for his or her own affairs. If an individual does not have an estate plan that accounts for potential incapacitation, he or she may be appointed a court-supervised guardian or conservator.

Making Decisions Surrounding Medical Care

One type of decision that may be necessary upon an individual’s incapacitation is how to handle his or her medical care. An advanced directive allows someone to assign those medical decisions to someone of their choosing. An advanced director can be planned so as to only be effective in the event of incapacity, even if the incapacity is not permanent.

Making Decisions Surrounding Financial Affairs

Another type of decision that may be required has to do with the handling of your financial affairs. A financial power of attorney allows you to choose someone trustworthy to take care of your financial decisions in your best interest. By appointing someone, the court does not need to be involved in those decisions.


While it is important to plan for the possibility of incapacity during your lifetime, it is just as important to plan for how your estate is to be handled upon your death. A last will and testament as well as a Trust are very common tools for doing just that. These documents include information for how to distribute your assets after you have died. Additionally, it allows you to assign a guardian for any minor children of yours.

The Overall Benefits of an Estate Plan

To summarize, there are basic elements of any proper estate plan that should be considered. This usually includes your medical care should you become disabled or incapacitated, appointing a guardian for your minor children, and setting up any important steps for those with special needs. You can also include a spendthrift provision, which accounts for additional help for your heirs in managing an inheritance.

Create an Estate Plan Sooner Rather than Later

It is important to note that should the needs of your family change, you can modify your estate plan to account for them. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help to make an overwhelming process a lot easier. Though many people may feel that they do not need to focus on creating an estate plan due to their age or lack of financial assets. However, life can be unpredictable and there is no way to know if and when you will become incapacitated or when you will die. Once an unexpected event occurs, it may be too late to create a plan.


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