Essential Legal Documents for Estate Planning

As you are preparing for the future of your estate, there are some important documents that you will need to get. Without them, you may not be able to adequately plan for the future of your earnings and possessions, and the entire fortune may be subject to division by the court. If you want to will your estate in a unique way or want certain family members and friends to inherit specific items, assets, or amounts of money, then having the proper documents filled out and filed is essential. With the help of a lawyer you can carefully plan for any surprise situation that may leave your loved ones in charge of your fortune.

While most people don’t want to think about their death, it is very important to plan ahead. Sadly, death is never a predictable instance, and a horrific accident or a sudden illness can leave a family with a fortune and no way to divide it. While you may not want to think about the possibility of passing away, failing to prepare can be devastating for everyone. That is why you should start planning for the future of your estate early on. As well, you never know if you should become incapacitated. In this situation, you will want documents in place that will govern how your loved ones should spend your money and answer important medical questions on your behalf.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP,) there are a variety of documents that you need to have in place and ready to do in the event of a tragic death, illness, or debilitating injury. The first of these documents is a living will. This is a document that will alert all medical professionals of the treatments that you approve and those that you do not want to undergo should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes for yourself. This will only go into effect if you are not ability to meet specific medical criteria. For example, if you are in a car accident and are put on life support, this living will may describe whether or not you wish to remain on life support or would prefer to pass away in peace.

While these are sobering situations to think about, planning ahead for the worst case scenario is always the wisest thing to do. You should also draft a healthcare power of attorney. This is a file that will delegate a spouse, trusted family member, or friend the right to make your health care decisions if you are not able to make those decisions yourself. People also refer to this document at as a health care proxy. There are times that the document is also called an appointment of a health care agent or a durable power of attorney for health care. A durable power of attorney only covers health matters, but you can use this document as well if you want to govern the expenses that you will spend on medical care.

You will also want to create a letter of instruction. This is a letter that outlines any special requests that you want to be carried out in your incapacitation or passing. In letters of instruction people often detail their desires for a funeral or names of people to contact in the event of death. They also may list important phone numbers such as employers, insurance agents, or brokers who will need to be contacted upon the person’s passing. As well, the letter of instruction can detail any specific items that need to be given to dear family members or friends upon the individual’s death. This is not substitute for a will, but it is a letter that can help to clarify any intentions and feelings. With the help of a probate professional or a legal assistant, you can draft these important documents and further prepare for the future. Contact an attorney today for more information!