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Ease Your Mind with These Essential Estate Planning Documents

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Written By Adeyemi Adetilewa

Are you prepared should the worst happen? Many adults know the importance of having a will in place, but for many individuals, a will is not enough. To limit the inheritance tax to the heir, estate planning is an important task for everyone, not just the wealthy.

1. Latest Directive

An advance directive includes a road map for health insurance for loved ones and medical practitioners. A living will, which is a form of advance directive, clarifies the treatment you would like to have if you can never speak for yourself.

What are the conditions in which you may ask doctors to stop trying to cure what ails you? When do you want relief from your suffering, even though it hastens your death? Now you can spell that out so that your relatives won’t have to struggle later with these choices.

A well-executed estate plan will have six essential documents. These include your will, durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, guardianship designations, beneficiary designations, and letter of intent.

It can also include life insurance, long-term care insurance, and annuities which allow the money to pass to beneficiaries without the need for probate, according to wealth management firm Summitry. If you’ve never thought about estate planning before, here is a guide to each important document in your estate plan.

2. Will and Trust

9 Essential Estate Planning Documents to Ease Your Mind NowMost people are familiar with wills. A will or trust is an important document, even if you don’t have many assets. Creating your will helps ensure your wishes are followed after your death.

Trusts can help limit the protected assets and limit taxes passed on to your heirs. It is important that you make the will match the other documents in your estate plan. You can visit serrantinolaw.com to know more about other documents.

If you name someone as a beneficiary to an account, that should be reflected in the will. Any confusion or duplicate bequeaths can lead to a legal battle.

If you have a will, by explicitly pointing out who you wish to inherit things that may not be in your trust, for instance, your home or car, or even unique mementos such as your china or tool kit, you can head off possible family squabbles.

A final will, however daunting it can be, is nothing more than a signed legal declaration specifying how you would like to distribute your property and belongings following your death, whether it be to charities, family and friends, or even pets.

3. Durable Power of Attorney

Should you become incapacitated, your durable power of attorney will be able to act on your behalf. If you do not name a POA, the division of your assets could be determined by a court.

While many individuals choose their significant other to be their POA, it can be anyone you trust. Consider family, friends, or advisors who you know would act in your best interest.

In compliance with your desires and under whatever limits you set, this entity is able to handle land, perform financial transactions, and make financial decisions. And when you are still alive may certain choices and acts be made.

Assigning someone with an attorney’s financial control means that your assets and property are secured and handled according to your expectations, enabling your firms and other interests to stay strong and continue to produce revenue that will fulfill your requirements.

4. Healthcare Power of Attorney

9 Essential Estate Planning Documents to Ease Your Mind NowThis role is separate from your durable power of attorney and is responsible for making healthcare decisions in the event you become incapacitated. There are several documents you can create to help guide your HCPA to make the decisions you want, but it is helpful to have care discussions in person.

Since health emergencies are rarely planned, you should consider naming a backup agent. This way you will be covered in case your primary HCPA is unable to perform their duties. And when you are still alive may certain choices and acts be made.

Assigning someone with an attorney’s financial power means that your assets and property are secured and handled according to your wishes, allowing your companies and other interests to remain strong and continue to produce sales that will fulfill your financial debts and help keep financially secure for your family.

5. HIPAA Waiver

While your advance directive includes language that allows your HCR to access your medical records, it is not uncommon for healthcare facilities without a stand-alone HIPAA waiver to refuse access to medical information.

Be sure that you have a stand-alone HIPAA waiver to provide access to your personal records to your appointed agents and family members so that they can talk openly about your health care professionals in the event of a medical emergency or your injury. 

6. Guardianship Designations

Guardianship can be covered in your will or trust, but including a separate guardianship, the designation is important if you have minor children.

You will be required to appoint a survivor to inherit these assets upon your death as you carry out a life insurance policy or open a savings plan. The decisions you make on these papers take priority over the directions left in a will, and on these types, it is necessary to weigh your choices carefully.

In order to ensure that the appropriate persons obtain financial assistance, they should be held along with the other estate planning records and discussed with the estate planning solicitor.

You may also want to include a guardianship designation in your estate plan even if you don’t have children currently but may have kids in the future. Including your designation is critical to ensuring children don’t become wards of the state while the court works to determine guardianship. 

7. Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer

Hiring a consultant for estate planning to accompany you during the planning period will ensure that all the records are written properly and in compliance with the statute. Your estate will be adequately secured and dispersed, allowing your families after your death to prevent court problems and misunderstanding. 

In view of the current situation, the selection of a Health Care Agent and a permanent lawyer for finance are the two most critical papers on hand. If you are locked up in your house, taken to the hospital, or becoming debilitated, you need somebody who can do your finances or make your medical decisions.

8. Living Trust

9 Essential Estate Planning Documents to Ease Your Mind NowThis is a huge bonus because the period of intestacy will take as much as three years and cost as much as 10 percent of the value of your assets.

As probate records are available to the public, refusing probate court with a living trust also protects your safety.

9. Letter of Intent

While this document holds less legal weight than other parts of your estate plan, you shouldn’t leave it out. A letter of intent can help guide the executor of your estate to understand your wishes.

You can also include funeral details and special requests that don’t fit in any of the other legal documents. A letter of instruction remains private, unlike your will. Therefore, it is a chance to say something that you’d rather not make public.

A letter of guidance does not represent a substitution for a will. The instructions in the letter that you include are just guidelines and are not binding. The individuals to whom you send the letter may obey any instructions or ignore them.

It is difficult to think about a time when we won’t be around to support our families. Setting up an excellent estate plan can ease some of the difficulties.

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