Planning an estate is a very important task. As a probate lawyer from a firm like the Law offices of Joshua Kaplan can explain, you will typically need more than a will to properly plan your estate. Check out this list of four essential estate planning documents.
1. Last Will
Your last will is effective once you pass away. It will indicate how you intend to allocate your assets. It should specify the designated beneficiaries of your estate; they will be the ones who receive your funds and properties after you die. It should also name an executor: He or she will manage the distribution of your estate. If you have minor children, be sure to list who you want to be their guardians in the event of your passing.
2. Revocable Living Trust
A living trust protects your assets while you are alive as well as when you die. Many use living trusts to stop their assets from going through probate, which is when the judicial system handles and distributes a deceased individual’s belongings. Probate generally takes a long time to carry out and can lead to plenty of legal expenses, so many do their best to avoid them. A living trust is revocable if you can change its specifications and move assets in and out of it while you are alive.
3. Power of Attorney for Finances
A Power of Attorney for Finances can be put into motion during your lifetime. It grants rights to an attorney or agent if you become incapacitated. The person you transfer rights to will be able to pay your bills, sell your properties, manage your investments, and deal with other issues related to your finances. It is best to give legal authority over your assets to someone who is financially literate.
4. Power of Attorney for Health Care
Like a Power of Attorney for Finances, a Power of Attorney for Health Care is utilized while you are alive. It allows someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself. In the Power of Attorney for Health Care form, you will provide instructions about the types of medical treatments you wish to receive. People often grant power over their health to their spouse or child or another very close relative.
Carefully design your estate. Contact a wills lawyer today to garner more information about which documents you need to plan your estate and what topics your plan should cover.