Creating an estate plan is the smart and responsible thing to do. However, to ensure a smooth transfer of assets and that your wishes are carried out, you must have the right documents.
Learn about the essential documents for your estate plan here.
A will is perhaps the most fundamental document in any estate plan. It clearly defines how you want your assets distributed after your death. Without a will, state laws will decide on the distribution of your estate, which might not align with your wishes. If you have minor children, a will can also be used to name guardians for them.
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)
This document allows you to designate a person, known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. The DPOA ensures that your bills, taxes, and other financial responsibilities remain addressed even if you cannot manage them yourself.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
This document is like the DPOA; however, the Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions if you’re incapacitated. It ensures that medical decisions align with your preferences when you cannot communicate them.
Also known as an advance healthcare directive, a living will specifies your wishes regarding end-of-life care. Whether it’s your stance on life support, organ donation or specific medical procedures, a living will ensure that your desires are honored even when you can’t voice them.
Proper estate planning requires careful thought and documentation. With the appropriate documents in place, you can ensure that your wishes are honored and that your loved ones are provided for and protected. Knowing your legal rights and options is important when creating this plan.