When the time comes and you are ready to begin your estate planning, the number of documents you will need can seem overwhelming. While this article is not intended to substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney, the information provided here is going to cover three documents everyone should have.
Creating a Will
A will is one of the most widely known and thought of items when estate planning is mentioned. A persons’ will is the foundation upon which estate planning can begin. Although many people believe you only need a will, consult with an attorney and you will see all the things that cannot be covered in one. Some things that cannot be covered include, jointly owned property or providing care for a person with special needs. Again, the best way to know for sure is by consulting with an estate planning attorney.
Advanced Medical Directive
One of the items not covered in your will is the advanced medical directives. This is the document that will dictate the types of medical care you will receive when incapacitated. You will also be able to dictate who can make those decisions for you in the event you cannot make them. Your living will is a portion of this directive and covers the specifics of what treatments you want. Another form known as the healthcare proxy is used to name the person who can make the decisions regarding your care.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is used to give someone else legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. When creating one, you will be given the option of using a general power of attorney or a specific (specialized) power of attorney. A general power of attorney gives someone the legal right to act on your behalf, to sign contracts, and to make other legal binding decisions for you. Alternately, you can have a specific power of attorney made. This will limit the areas in which someone can make a decision on your behalf. Whichever you decide to use, it is likely you will need to have one made when you are taking care of your estate planning.
If you are ready to get started, I recommend that you consult with a licensed lawyer to be certain you have all of the forms you need to protect your assets and ensure they go where you intend.
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