To many people, estate planning means creating a plan to distribute a multi-million dollar estate where heirs are expecting payouts of tens of thousands of dollars or to inherit cars, homes or vintage paintings. Indeed, there are some people (and families) where this is a reality. However, for most people, this is only a fantasy.
Nevertheless, estate planning can play an important role in deciding what happens to one’s personal belongings and property, and you don’t need to have millions to have such a plan. In fact, this post will focus on three important documents every person should have as part of their plan.
A Will – The primary purpose of a will is to set forth specific instructions on how you want to your assets and property distributed when you pass away. Typically, a will provides the authority to pay outstanding expenses, names specific people to inherit property, and how you wish to be laid to rest, among other things.
A Durable Power of Attorney – A power of attorney allows you to name a person to act as your agent to make legal and financial decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated or are not able to communicate.
Healthcare Directive – This document may also be known as a living will. Just like a durable power of attorney, a healthcare directive allows you to assign a representative to make decisions for you regarding medical care in the event you cannot express yourself.
If you have additional questions about these and other documents that may comprise your estate plan, an experienced attorney can advise you.