An estate plan is not fully complete until you draft some important estate planning documents. Of course, a will is one of those documents. However, it may surprise you to know that there are more. And failure to create these documents may affect you while alive and your beneficiaries after your demise.
Some of these estate planning documents are durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, letter of intent, trust, etc. Below, I’ll give you a brief insight into these documents.
Important documents in an estate plan
A living Will
Whether you decide to set up a medical power of attorney or not, it is best that you contact an attorney and create a living will. Despite what its name may imply, a living will is related to your medical care. This important legal document clearly states which medical treatments you would prefer and that which you wouldn’t prefer to keep you alive.
The list is exhaustive and addresses topics like resuscitation, dialysis, palliative care, including organ donation. As you make choice regarding your future medical care, it is best that you talk about your wishes with your doctor including your loved ones. You can decide to alter your medical directives at any given time. However, ensure that you discard all the copies of the previous directives.
A will is one of the most common estate planning documents. This legal document contain the wishes of the estate owner regarding the management and distribution of his or her assets. A will also contains the name of the estate beneficiaries including the assets each beneficiary is to inherit.
The name of the estate executor is also written in the will. It is the job if the estate executor to ensure that the wishes of the estate owner are upheld.
It is important that every estate owner create a will as failure to do so will give the state the right to distribute the decedent’s assets based on the intestate law of the state.
Power of attorney
A power of attorney is another must-have estate planning document. This document allows the estate owner to select an individual (agent or attorney-in-fact) whose job is to make crucial legal and financial decisions on his behalf in the event of incapacitation. The individual chosen can decided to invest the principal’s money and make other sensible financial moves.
Failure to appoint a power of attorney will give the court the right to do so.
Health care power of attorney
Just like a power of attorney, a health care power of attorney is a legal document that gives an individual the legal right to make important health care decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated.
If you fail to set up a heath care power of attorney and you become incapacitated along the way, the court will choose an individual who will make those important health care decisions on your behalf. The individual is often someone close to you.
Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is used to convey instructions, request, including crucial personal or financial information that isn’t in your will. It is also used to specify how you want certain things to be done. For instance, you may decide to indicate how you want to be buried in your letter of intent. Worthy to note is that, you don’t need the help of an attorney to draft this document as it is not legally binding like a will.
Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
An estate plan is best created with the help of an estate planning attorney. Our estate planning attorneys aren’t only experienced, they are versed in the estate laws of New York. These professionals will ensure that your estate is planned according to the laws of New York and according to your wishes.
Do you need to update your estate plan? Or do you need to draft or create any of the estate planning documents listed above? Don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys. They are good at what they do and can provide you with the best estate planning services.