What are the Essential Documents for a Good Estate Plan?

A good estate plan protects you, your people, and your stuff. So which documents do you need to do that?

  • Healthcare protection documents. You should have a Health Care Proxy that authorizes a family member or friend to make medical decisions if an illness or injury renders you incapable of making or communicating your own decisions. In addition, it is also a good idea to have an advance directive specifying the type of care you would want if you are unconscious and suffering from a terminal condition. The final essential healthcare document is a HIPAA authorization that will enable loved ones to communicate with doctors and insurance companies.
  • Durable financial power of attorney. This document, or similar provisions in a trust document, can enable someone to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated.
  • Will. With your last will and testament, you can name someone to manage your affairs after you pass away, specify how you want your assets distributed, and name guardians for your children. 
  • Revocable living trust. This document allows loved ones to receive your assets without having to go through the long and expensive probate process.

With these documents in place and up-to-date, you and your family can be prepared for both the certainties and the uncertainties of the future. We’d be happy to talk to you about preparing or updating any of these documents.