5 Estate Planning Documents You Must Have
Updated: Sep 26
Why Estate Planning Is Important?
According to Wikipedia, Estate planning enables you to prepare for catastrophic events like your death or incapacitation. It helps you prevent your family from worrying about important decisions during a medical emergency or in the situation of your untimely passing. Furthermore, a well-drafted estate plan protects your family legally and financially. So, knowing exactly what is involved and which documents you need to file at the proper government offices is a helpful way to get started.
Documents Required for Crafting a Good Estate Plan
According to Wikipedia, Here are the estate planning documents you’ll need to draft and review before filing. Reviewing these documents might also help you to identify any gaps or opportunities in your plan.
1. Last Will and Testament
The last will and testament contain instructions for distributing the personal property of your estate. It also specifies who will be given guardianship of your minor children and other directives after your demise. You can also identify an executor of your estate in your will. An executor acts as your representative who has the authority to close any accounts and distribute your personal property according to your mentioned wishes.
2. Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a written document that determines how your assets will be handled after your demise. It is a legal tool created to control and distribute your assets like real estate, bank accounts, and investments. You can create it while you are still alive, and it can be changed or revoked at any time. Since you are the Grantor (or creator), your social security number helps identify your trust, which means that you are responsible for the taxes on the income generated from your assets. Another reason for establishing a revocable living trust is to avoid probate. The trust remains in effect even after your passing, but you will need to designate someone to manage the funds and disperse them according to your wishes.
3. Power of Attorney (POA)
This power of attorney (POA) remains in effect until your death or until you decide to cancel it. The POA designates a person who can take charge of your legal and financial matters and other important decisions on your behalf. If you don't choose the person, the court may select someone as the conservator whom you may not view as the ideal candidate.
4. Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA)
The healthcare POA works similarly to the durable POA, where you would designate a relative, spouse, or close friend to make critical medical decisions for you if you are no longer capable to do so. Also, similar to the POA, you would name this person ahead of time, and only you would be able to revoke their access to your medical information (including medical bills) and decision-making authority.
5. Beneficiary Designations
When you designate beneficiaries, you identify the individuals who will inherit your retirement account. Often, the first step in your retirement plan is to list your primary and secondary beneficiaries. Updating this information is vital to carrying out your wishes. For example, if your spouse was your primary beneficiary, but he/she passed on before you, then you’ll need to list a different beneficiary. All in all, you should check your list of beneficiaries each time you meet with your financial planner to ensure all information is up to date.
Create Your Estate Plan Today
Planning your estate can be exhausting as you may not be familiar with legal terms and documentation, but professional legal document assistants can help you with this. Legal document Assistants, like Monday Morning Trust, are approved by govt to provide assistance to you concerning your estate plan. The best thing about an LDA is that they cost a fraction of attorney fees for the same assistance.
Contact Monday Morning Trust today for any assistance in will and trust services.