If you have put off starting your New Hampshire estate plan, you may wish to reconsider that decision. Despite what you may have heard, no adult or family is “too young” or “too financially strapped” to need at least a basic estate plan consisting of his or her last will and testament.
While no one likes to contemplate eventual death, if you ignore this ultimate certainty and fail to properly plan for it, you hurt not only yourself, but also those you love. For instance, if you die without having signed a valid last will and testament, New Hampshire law declares that you died intestate and prescribes who inherits your assets and property.
Estate planning benefits
Probably the biggest benefit of setting up an estate plan is that it gives you peace of mind knowing that you have stated your wishes and that someone can carry them out in the event of your death. For instance, you can state in your will not only which people or entities, such as a charity, your alma mater, etc., you want to inherit from you, but also who you want to become the guardian of your minor child(ren) if you and your spouse die together in an accident or other catastrophe.
Your will, however, represents only the first step of your estate plan. Other parts of it may include the following:
- One or more living trusts for the benefit of yourself and others
- A medical power of attorney, aka, health care directive, stating what types of end-of-life care you do and do not want, plus the person you want to make health care decisions for you if your injury, illness or condition prevents you from verbalizing these choices yourself
- A college tuition plan for each of your children to ensure that when they reach college age, the money will be there to pay for that education
Keep in mind that except for irrevocable trusts, you can change or even rescind all of your estate planning documents in the future as your needs and wishes change.