Estate planning is important for making sure that your wishes get honored when you can no longer express them yourself. It also ensures your assets get distributed as you desire after your passing.
To safeguard your legacy and provide clarity to your loved ones during challenging times, you must include specific documents in your estate plan.
Last will and testament
A last will and testament, commonly known as a will, is a key document in estate planning. This legal paper lets you say how you want your stuff divided after you pass away. In your will, you can name someone to carry out your instructions (called an executor), list who gets your property, and even pick guardians for any kids who are still minors. A well-done will helps prevent family conflicts and ensures that your belongings get shared as you intended, providing a clear plan for sorting out your affairs.
Durable power of attorney
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that lets someone handle your finances if you’re not able to. This person, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, can manage tasks like banking and property matters outlined in the document. By appointing a trusted person to act for you, a durable power of attorney safeguards your financial interests and makes decision-making easier during times of incapacity.
Advance healthcare directive
According to the National Poll on Healthy Aging by the University of Michigan, two in three adults ages 50-80 need to complete an advance healthcare directive and durable power of attorney. An advance healthcare directive is a part of an estate plan that deals with your medical wishes when you cannot speak for yourself. This document usually includes a living will, which spells out your preferences for life-sustaining treatments, and a healthcare power of attorney, naming someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. By laying out your medical preferences in advance, you lighten the burden on your loved ones, helping them make tough decisions during difficult times.
Taking the time to compile and regularly review these documents is a responsible and considerate measure that can provide comfort to you and your loved ones in the future.