It is good to plan an estate. However, while planning an estate you need to ensure that you create or set up the right documents. A good estate plan is determined by the legal documents that comes with it and how well the plan is able to protect the assets of the deceased, cater for his needs when incapacitated, and care for his or her family upon death.
To some people estate planning is all about creating a will that holds your wishes regarding your assets. Estate planning is more than that. This plan involved the creation of other important legal document that makes the estate plan perfect.
In this article, we’ll be talking about the most important documents in an estate plan.
Most Important Documents in an Estate Plan
No doubt, a will is one of the most important estate planning documents. It determine who gets your assets after your death. This document also consist of the names of your estate beneficiaries, including the assets you want to transfer to each of the beneficiaries.
The importance of a will is numerous. Aside from those mentioned above, a will can also help you designate guardians for your minor children (If you have any). In addition, with a will, you can select your personal representative also known as an estate executor or executrix.
The job of your estate executor is to handle everything regarding your estate, including the distribution of your possessions, paying your final bills, filling your final tax return, and shutting your accounts. If you fail to create a will, the government of your state will step in.
A trust is another important estate planning document. This legal document allows you to take assets you own and place them into the ownership of a trust you set up while alive. The trust is the owner of your assets and managed them while you are alive. Upon your death, the trustee (the individual you select to manage the trust) shares the assets placed in the trust to the designated beneficiaries.
A living trust is private and isn’t subjected to probate. For this reason, a competent attorney will advise you to set up a living trust in order to bypass the difficult, time-consuming, and expensive probate process.
Health Care power of attorney
A health care power of attorney is an important estate planning document that allows you to choose an individual (agent or attorney-in-fact) who will make those important health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so.
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.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is another crucial estate planning document. Like a health care power of attorney, this legal document allows you to select an individual who will make essential financial and legal decisions on your behalf when you are unable to.
Also, if you fail to set up a durable power of attorney and you become incapacitated along the way, the court will choose an individual who will make those important financial and legal 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.
Contact our office if you need help in creating any of the documents listed above. Our competent attorneys can help in creating the legal documents to your taste.