Creating a trust is one of the best gifts you will give yourself and your family. Why? You will be able to protect your assets during your life, protect your spouse and your children and other loved ones, and after your passing, your family will not have to go through probate (court system). Creating and funding the trust will streamline your life in dealing with your property and money during and after your life.
Last Will and Testament
No one knows when and how we are going to pass on, however, we all know for certain it will happen one day. Do you want to decide how your estate is distributed or will you let the state's law dictate who inherits your? Planning is key in life, especially, when it comes to your legacy. At the very least, you should have a Last Will and Testament, so you decide how who gets your stuff when you pass away. There are formalities that you have to comply with in order for the state to recognize your Will. Having a Will does not protect your stuff from your family's creditor, addiction issues, bankruptcy and divorce.
Health Care Surrogate
If you can't make your own medical decisions, do you know who will make those decisions for you? If you would like someone close to you to be able to make medical decisions on your behalf, you can name them as you health care surrogate. It is important to have a conversation with this person (and the backups listed) before you appoint him or her regarding your wishes and your believes regarding your medical care. The person may not be comfortable making certain medical decisions on your behalf, and you would be wise to know that upfront and find another person you trust who would make medical decisions aligned with your wishes.
Do you want to receive chemotherapy if it will prolong your life by only 6 months? Do you want to be on a respirator? For how long? These are very difficult questions but that must be considered and decisions made. It is best that you talk with your family members and your partner to discuss what your wishes are. By executing a Living Will, your doctors and other medical providers know your wishes for end-of-life decisions (medical care you wish to receive or not receive), instead of having your family members be put in a difficult position where they have to figure out what your wishes would have been.