What Are the Three Estate Planning Documents You Need?
Your Estate Plan has a variety of tools, including these three documents:
2) Power of Attorney for your financial affairs.
3) Power of Attorney for health-care decisions.
You may be nervous about dealing with lawyers and professionals. But you cannot create a plan or the documents you need by yourself. Get help to protect your interests and your family.
Your plan may include investments, trusts and life insurance. Complex situations will call for a team of experienced advisors.
Let’s look at each document, starting with a will.
1. Wills – Why Put It in Writing
If you pass away without a written will, the government rules dictate who manages and inherits all your money.
If you have children, don’t think your spouse automatically inherits your entire estate.
Without a will, someone must be appointed by a judge to legally handle your property and pay your bills. If you’re lucky, your relatives will not end up in a court fight before this happens.
|Where there is a will, there is a way. Without a valid will, there are lawyers.|
• Choose who you trust to control your estate.
• Decide who is to benefit from your property.
• Set up a tax plan to save money.
• Name guardians for minor children.
• Set up a trust to manage children’s inheritance.
• Provide for spouses, common-law spouses or same-sex partners.
2. Protecting Your Money
What if you become incapacitated or an illness prevents you from handling your money?
What will happen if you have not signed a financial power-of-attorney document to handle your money? Your loved ones must get a court order to deal with your assets.
Sign a power of attorney to specify who you trust to manage for you if you become incapacitated. This document is also called a proxy or agency document.
You sign this legal document, usually with two witnesses, to appoint your attorney to deal with your financial affairs.
Do you already have a signed power of attorney? Make sure it is not out of date and that your bank or broker will accept it. If you have any doubts, consult a lawyer.
3. Protecting Your Dignity
Your Estate Plan will include a separate document called a power of attorney for personal or health care. It authorizes your attorney to make personal-care decisions only if you cannot.
Two witnesses are usually also required for this document.
You can cover health care, shelter and safety and your final wishes regarding your treatment options in these documents.
You can attach your list or detailed written wishes with a living will or medical directive.
To this point, we have covered the documents you need. What should you do next to prepare these documents? You need to speak to an experienced estate lawyer. Put my experience to your advantage. Make an appointment to see me today.Posted In: Estates On: December 1st, 2011