Estate Planning Everyone Should Have
Estate Planning is about Life. It’s about security for those you love. It’s protection for yourself, if you become incapacitated. It’s a tool for creating a legacy or preserving a heritage. It’s a means of instilling values in younger generations, or of motivating self-accomplishment. Estate planning allows you to help, to protect, to provide, and to encourage – even when you can no longer do so yourself.
Four Essential Documents for Estate Plans.
Four essential documents are the foundation of a good estate plan. Many plans are complete with these four alone, but more complicated plans may require additional documents. Very simple plans may not require the fourth document (Trust), but it is advisable in most cases:
1. Advance Healthcare Directive.
Sometimes also called a “living will,” this tells others what to do if you are unable to make your own medical decisions.
2. Last Will and Testament.
Tells the court how to distribute property; nominates a guardian for minors; appoints an executor to handle your final affairs.
3. Power of Attorney for Financial Matters.
Appoints someone to manage your assets and pay your bills if you become incapacitated.
4. Living Trust.
Avoids probate court; specifies conditions for distribution; better tax planning; greater protection for heirs; allows for delayed transfer of assets.
If you are missing some or all of these “must have” documents, you should consult with an estate planning attorney to determine the best plan components for your situation.