The Big Three: Estate Planning Documents Everyone Should Have
You’ve heard of them. You’ve seen them mentioned in news articles. You’ve faked your way through a conversation about them at your office’s holiday party. But you aren’t quite sure what each of them are or if you even need any of them. Well, you’re in luck, because today we are breaking it all down for you. Meet the Big Three: the Will, the Power of Attorney, and the Advance Directive. These are the three estate planning documents that we believe are important to any solid estate plan.
Talking about estate planning can be a difficult task. Compiling your assets and debts into a single list can be daunting, time and money are always a consideration, and the idea of planning for after your death can feel a little .. well, morbid. But, with the right attorney, you will be able to have the peace of mind that always comes with having a great estate plan in place. Let’s take a closer look at the three main estate planning documents that everyone should consider.
1. The Last Will and Testament: First up, we have the Last Will and Testament, or simply, the Will. While there are many different types of Wills, they each work towards a common goal: enabling you to select individuals or charities to whom your property will be distributed upon your death. If you have minor children, you can also designate a legal guardian to care for your children in the event of your death.
2. The Power of Attorney: A Power of Attorney also comes in a few different forms, but again, each has the same end-game as the other. The Power of Attorney lets you designate an individual of your choice to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. The Power of Attorney can be prepared in a few different ways, but generally speaking, the most common type of Power of Attorney is the Durable Power of Attorney. This means that your written authorization, whether it takes effect immediately or at some time in the future, will survive any later incapacity that you may experience.
3. The Advance Directive: You might know the Advance Directive as a Living Will, Proxy Directive, Instruction Directive, or Healthcare Directive. The Advance Directive is similar to the Power of Attorney, except that it deals with medical and healthcare decisions instead. The most common type of Advance Directive allows you to name an individual (known as your “agent”) to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, and also allows your to instruct your agent as to medical treatment and decisions that will be made on your behalf in the event that you are not able to make these decisions on your own.
With these three documents in place, your estate plan will have a very solid foundation. If you have any questions about anything discussed in this article, please feel free to contact Ahmad Law Offices by phone (973-346-7560), e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or even tweet us (@ahmadlawoffices).
This article was created for informational and educational purposes only. It is not legal advice. Please read our full disclaimer here.