Every individual should have a basic estate plan which includes the following documents:
A Will – which is a document that states your wishes as to who will inherit your assets and how they will be distributed after you have passed away.
A Health Care Power of Attorney – which is a document that appoints an agent to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to do so.
A Power of Attorney for Property – which is a document that gives someone you choose the power to act in your place with respect to your property. A power of attorney can be for a limited purpose or grant broad powers.
Sometimes a Trust is advisable, which is a document created to manage assets in which a trustee handles assets transferred into the Trust for one or more beneficiaries of the Trust. The Trust document contains instructions on how the assets must be managed and paid out. A Trust can be a substitute for a Will or used together with a Will, and created during your lifetime or by your Will upon your death.
Many people avoid or put off planning for their incapacity or death, since the topic of death may not be a comfortable one or seems far off. But everyone has heard stories of people who thought they had plenty of time, but had unexpected misfortunes befall them before they were to able complete this paperwork, leaving their loved ones with great uncertainty and necessary cost in trying to establish the legal paperwork to address their affairs after their untimely incapacity or death.
Taking these necessary steps sooner rather than later will help to bring you certain peace of mind.