Must-Have Documents You Need for Estate Planning
As much as we all talk about how important end of life planning is, few people want to think about it, and put it off far too long. After all, nobody likes to think about their own mortality. Still, estate planning isn’t something you do for you, but rather something that you do for your children, spouse and loved ones that you leave behind.
It protects your assets and ensures that they are properly distributed when you pass on. There are countless reasons to plan your estate, but it’s also important to do it right. Learn the four essential estate planning documents, what they are, and how the right estate planning attorney can help get your affairs in order.
Reasons for Estate Planning
While there are countless benefits to properly planning your estate, some of the most important are that it provides for the financial stability of your loved ones, it guarantees that your final wishes are honored, it ensures your assets are properly and quickly distributed, and minimizes tax burdens, while also protecting the privacy of your family.
It may be unpleasant to think about estate planning, but when it’s done, you’ll be relieved that you took the right steps.
Essential Document 1: The Will
Your last will and testament is the core of your estate planning, and the most basic document for your end of life planning. A will is nothing more than a simple written document that lays out your intentions for distributing your property and assets. It can allow you to designate a guardian for minor children, a caretaker for pets, or the means by which you want your house and assets divided or sold.
Essential Document 2: Physician’s Directive
A physician’s Directive outlines your intentions for medical decisions, should you be unable to make them yourself. The most common form is a DNR or do-not-resuscitate order, stating you don’t want to be put on life support, but you can outline any medical decisions you want in a physician’s directive. You may also want to create a healthcare power of attorney, allowing someone to make decisions for which you haven’t accounted.
Essential Document 3: Living Trust
A living trust is similar to a will, but in this kind of document your estate maintains control of your assets, doling them out circumstantially. This helps to avoid probate court and control the tax burden when you die. It can also protect your privacy and help to ensure that your assets aren’t squandered by those you leave behind.
Essential Document 4: Power of Attorney
There are two types of power of attorney: financial and medical. This is a document that gives someone else legal power over certain aspects of your life — to access your finances or to make medical decisions as needed for you. It allows someone to manage your affairs should you become unable to do so.
Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney
While these documents seem simple, they often require legal witnesses to draft and file properly, and an estate planning attorney can help to ensure that you take the right steps at the right times, not missing out on important decisions. If you need help with your end of life estate planning documents, call the experienced attorneys at Tanko Law for a consultation, more information or help today.