Your estate planning may not need all the bells and whistles.
Many people avoid estate planning.
Maybe they think avoiding the subject of death will make life more pleasant.
According to a recent Gettysburg Times article titled “Essentials necessary for estate planning,” these people are sorely mistaken.
Having no plan in places will make times of tragedy almost unbearable.
You may not need anything fancy, but there are many legal documents you need in place before death or incapacity.
What are they?
A power of attorney allows you to name an agent to make decisions and act on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
There are different types, too.
For example, they can be “full” or “limited” and they can be for financial decisions or for health care decisions.
Full powers of attorney have no restrictions.
Limited powers of attorney are created to serve particular purposes.
Oh, by the way, you need powers of attorney for both financial and health care decisions.
Once you die, the powers of attorney are void.
Living Will or Health Care Treatment Directive
Some attorneys still use living wills, but we prefer health care treatment directives.
Through these documents you can provide instructions regarding any lifesaving or sustaining treatments you desire to receive or not receive.
By providing these directions, you can save your loved ones the stress of making such difficult decisions on your behalf.
They will have peace knowing whatever is done is what you wanted.
Last Will and Testament
This allows you to provide directions for distributing your assets.
This fundamental legal document is used to name an executor for your estate and guardians for minor children.
A last will goes into effect when you die and it has been submitted to the probate court.
For a will to be valid it must be duly signed, witnessed, and notarized.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney to get your affairs in order will ensure that you have satisfied both your needs and the laws of your state.
Do not delay in preparing the documents.
You never know when you will need them.
If it has been several years since you created your estate plan, review your existing plan with your experienced estate planning attorney to make sure it satisfies any new laws and any life changes.
Reference: Gettysburg Times (July 27, 2019) “Essentials necessary for estate planning”