5 Crucial Estate Planning Documents
For those just starting the estate planning process, the scope of the task may seem overwhelming. While everyone’s situation is unique, they all have one thing in common: lots of paperwork. Here’s a look at five of the most basic, but important, documents you will want to be sure to address:
- Will: A will outlines your intentions regarding the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries after your death. They are highly customizable and provide the most effective way of ensuring your wishes are met. The key component of any will is naming an executor, whose job it will be to manage your estate. It’s best to notify this person while you’re still alive to avoid potential surprises, confusion or resentment.
- Living will: Unlike a will, which goes into effect upon your death, a living will is intended to indicate your wishes regarding end-of-life care. It clarifies whether you want to be resuscitated or kept alive through artificial means. Again, speaking with loved ones about your living will can help prevent confusion in the future.
- Healthcare power of attorney: Related to a living will, a healthcare power of attorney document appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation due to an injury or illness.
- Durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney document is similar to its healthcare counterpart in that identifies a person who can make decisions on your behalf, in this case legal and financial decisions.
- Living trust: This is a document that helps you control what happens to your assets after your death. Because property named in a living trust does not have to go through probate court, this document can make the settling of your estate go much more quickly and help your beneficiaries avoid some costly estate taxes.
Although do-it-yourself estate planning documents have become very popular in recent years, nothing provides better assurance and peace of mind than the counsel of a qualified and knowledgeable attorney. Contact the skilled Florida estate planning lawyers at the Charles Law Offices for further guidance.