When you’re working on your estate plan, you may not be exactly sure about which documents you need. There are several that you can set up, like trusts, your will and your powers of attorney. There are many, many others as well.
To help make things easier for you, these five basic estate planning documents cover a range of issues and help protect you and your family in the case of incapacitation or death.
- Advanced directive
One helpful document to add to your estate plan is an advance directive. An advance directive helps your family and health care providers understand what you want if you need medical care. You can go over things like the kind of treatment you want and when you no longer want supportive treatments.
- Health care power of attorney
Along with your advanced directive, you may want to assign a health care power of attorney. This is someone who makes decisions about your care if you can no longer do so yourself. Choose someone who you know will listen to your wishes and help you get the appropriate care when necessary.
- A basic will
You should also work on your basic will. A will is helpful because it points out your wishes and says who you want to have inherit your property. It can help eliminate the risk of conflicts among your loved ones, especially if you go over it with them in advance.
- Financial power of attorney
Another good document to have is your financial power of attorney. A financial power of attorney gives someone the power to control your finances and manage your financial affairs for you if you can no longer do so yourself.
If you have minor children or an adult child who is a dependent, you may want to set up a guardianship. Choose someone to take over their care if you can no longer do so.
These are five documents you may want to consider having in your estate plan. They are protective and can make illness or death easier on you and your family.