Estate Planning Checklist Last Will and Testament. A comprehensive estate plan includes four estate planning documents. These documents include a will, financial power of attorney, advance care directive, and living trust. A will gives you the power to decide what is best for your children and pets after their death.
It can also help you determine what will happen to possessions with financial or sentimental value. Usually, you name the executor as someone who will be responsible for following your instructions. Finally, you can include any provision for the funeral. The legal documents required for estate planning are those that will address the ownership of assets when you die.
The bare minimum of an estate plan must include a Last Will and Testament, which is the infallible way to control these results. We will explain what a will is and why you should have one in force, shortly. We also recommend that you gather your various financial accounts and insurance policies and keep them in a safe place, such as a fire safe or a bank safe deposit box. These include mortgage deeds, car titles, estate documents, and anything else your agents may need.
Having this information on hand helps your agents to fulfill their wishes the way you intended. Ensuring you have these important estate planning documents in place will allow you to fully prepare yourself and your family for whatever the future holds. When you consider how complicated life with blended families can be, end-of-life decisions, and tragic events, the importance of estate planning becomes clear. To start thinking about what you might need to include in your estate plan, here are five documents you should familiarize yourself with.
You can also specify who should receive the assets of your estate and appoint a guardian for minor children. Also known as a revocable living trust, this is a legal document created during its lifetime that allows the transfer of assets to a trust for its beneficiaries without the need to go through probate proceedings. A complete estate plan should contain not only a strong will but also other vital documents, including a report identifying who should make financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so. While your beneficiary designations are not a verbatim estate planning document, it is an aspect that is central to the process.
A living will or other medical directives must be included in your estate plan if you have very specific instructions for your medical care. With these types of documents, you can choose someone who can make medical decisions for you in case you are unable to make them yourself. That's why it's critical to discuss your situation with an estate planning lawyer who can help you assess your family and financial circumstances. Let's review some essential estate planning documents to better understand how they might fit into your plan.
While such a document may not be valid in the eyes of the law, it helps inform the probate judge of your intentions and may aid in the distribution of your assets if the will is considered invalid for some reason. An important consideration is to include provisions that allow your family members to access or control your assets if you are unable to do so while you are alive. These documents can also meet personal objectives, such as appointing a guardian for minor children. For example, the power could be to carry out specific real estate transactions, or broad powers covering virtually all of your financial matters.
This is important because if you are unable to make these decisions on the spot for yourself, this legal document will be implemented to tell your doctor. .