This week, our family lawyers discuss a Maryland man who is confused about legal preparations for the end of life.
The Question: What legal preparations should I make for the end of my life?
What are, if any, the legal preparations I should make for end of life? I am not dying, on the contrary I am a relatively healthy 30-year-old man. I just am confused as to the legality of death, who gets what, and how I'd do a will where everything goes to my wife, or wife and children in the event that we eventually have children? I have a large life insurance policy that will support my wife in the event that my life is cut tragically short?
The Answer: First, decide upon a beneficiary for the life insurance policy. Then you want to prepare a will and possibly a trust (for the future kids).
Death is something that happens to all of us, and preparing for it can help your loved ones focus on the grief of the loss rather than the legalities involved with your passing. Congrats on becoming a responsible adult. Writing a will, establishing trusts, and deciding beneficiaries is a good thing to do as part of becoming an adult.
Regardless of health, death can happen at any time, and it usually occurs when you least expect it. Being prepared prevents the family from bickering over your assets and ensures your wishes are carried out.
You are off to a good start as you appear to have already chosen the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, your wife. When you have kids, that could change depending on how you want the proceeds divvied up between your spouse and children.
Here is where possibly setting up a trust would come into play. You can choose to have a portion of your life insurance policy proceeds go into a trust fund set up for the kids. These are personal decisions, and each person has different ideas on how to divide assets upon their death.
Another thing to do is to set up a will. Some people choose to have a living will a legal document written to specify the actions taken when your health deteriorates to a point where you can no longer make decisions. This type of will gives healthcare directives and medical power of attorney.
A will allows you to divide your property and assets how you see fit among your surviving friends and relatives. Here you can specify inheritance of the trusts, house, land, and personal effects.
Attorneys like us at JC Law offer estate planning that helps take care of these end-of-life decisions, but there are many other options available to those planning for the end of life. It all boils down to what you are comfortable with and how you want to do it.
Our automatic disclaimer: We're lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We're providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual's attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a "real" response!