Your Guide to Basic Estate Planning Documents You Need to Have

45% of adults have a will, but do you know about the other basic estate planning documents you need to have to prepare for the future?

We’ve taken the time to create a list of the documents you need that will help you get your affairs in order. Trust us, you’re going to be thankful you checked out what we have to say.

Read on and find out the estate planning documents you need when speaking with your attorney.

Beneficiary Designations

If you don’t designate a person or entity to receive the proceeds of your estate upon your death, someone may try to take your property under the legal principle of “purposive ademption”—that is, they claim that they have the right to “adopt” or “appropriate” your property as their own because, in their mind, it was yours, to begin with.

If you have a will and testament, you can designate a beneficiary for each of these assets so that, upon your death, those assets go to specific people.

If you don’t designate a beneficiary for a particular asset, it’s possible that someone could use the legal principle of purposive ademption to take that asset and abandon the potentially valuable property.

A Will

A living will is a legal document that grants power of attorney and nominates a trustee for the property during your lifetime. They’re also the critical legal document for distributing your estate at death.

Essentially, a will states the exact way you want your property distributed and who will own or possess it after you pass away. As a non-lawyer, you may be concerned about whether what you write in your will is legally binding and enforceable by the courts, which is why you need to contact this law office for help.

Directive for Healthcare Needs

A directive for medical care can be hazardous. It simply advises doctors and other healthcare providers to ignore any medical advice and treatment you may need.

It’s a common, but dangerous practice for people in an advanced state of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It can also be perilous for people who are not in such a state of disease but who are confused or suffering from mental illness.

If you’re suffering from a serious or life-threatening condition, you can always seek the counsel of your doctor and other healthcare providers.

Accounting Records for Trusts and Estates

There are many accounting services and software programs that can help with the management and accounting of your assets. But keep in mind, these benefits can cost tens of thousands of dollars—and you may not need or want the extra bells and whistles.

To keep track of your assets and liabilities, you may consider keeping some essential accounting records. Your records should include:

  • Buy/sell dates on assets
  • The current market value of assets
  • Liability of assets
  • Asset/liability location
  • Asset/liability details
  • Asset/liability owner
  • Asset/liability date

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that allows one person to act on behalf of another when the first person is unable to do so due to physical or mental incapacity.

A power of attorney can be used to make health care decisions, sign financial documents, or manage assets and finances in case the principal becomes incapacitated.

It is legally binding, and it can be revoked or terminated by its principal.

Prepare These Basic Estate Planning Documents

As you can see, there are numerous benefits and advantages to having an estate plan in place. If you’re worried about what will happen if you should die, it’s best to think ahead and create a plan for your estate.

Want to know more about the basic estate planning documents? Check out our other posts.