Some adults, particularly young adults, do not give estate planning a second thought. They may not even know what estate planning entails. However, estate planning is a crucial activity that should not be overlooked, not even by young people in the state of Georgia. Estate planning is the process of establishing your wishes for how your assets should be dealt with in the event you pass away or are incapacitated.

As FindLaw explains, your estate consists of all the assets you own at the time of your death. Your house is part of your estate, as are the assets you have in your checking and savings accounts. Other assets include stocks, bonds or other securities you own, as well as your life insurance policy. If you own real estate besides your residence, that is part of your estate as well. A person’s estate also consists of personal possessions like jewelry, artwork and vehicles.

Estate planning accomplishes several important functions. It identifies your spouse, your children, grandchildren, stepchildren or anyone that you desire to receive your assets following your death. It makes the inheritance process as efficient as possible and alleviates some taxation burdens involved in transferring your assets to your heirs. Estate planning can also establish your healthcare wishes in the event you are hurt and unable to make crucial life decisions. Additionally, you can make future plans for your funeral.

Estate planning takes many different forms. One of the most common methods is to draft a last will and testament that identifies your heirs and the assets they are to receive. Some people, leery of their estate going through probate, opt to create a trust that can hold assets and distribute them to heirs. People who own a business may create a business succession plan that permits the business to be transferred in the event the owner dies or is incapacitated.

Other estate plans include naming a power of attorney, creating an advance care directive, or making plans to fund personal needs in the future. All of these are crucial decisions and may require the help of a professional estate attorney to fully understand and implement. Since estate planning needs vary from person to person, consider this article only as general information and not as legal advice.