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Estate Planning: Must-Have Documents and Why You Need to Do it Now

Estate planning is typically something that is put off until we reach retirement age or maybe even well after. But waiting to create an estate plan can be dangerous, resulting in various issues that the remaining family will need to manage. Now more than ever, everyone needs to start thinking about and planning for their future, both in regards to their long-term health and the distribution of their assets.

What Are the Must-Have Estate Planning Documents?

An estate plan is made up of several legal documents that provide instructions for how to manage various aspects of your healthcare and estate.

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will
  • List of Important Documents

Last Will and Testament

This document includes information about how you want your assets distributed, both financial and real property such as a house or vehicle. The document will name an executor, someone who will ensure that the instructions are followed. Also included are funeral provisions and guardians for minor children and pets. A will is a public document, so make sure to keep all personal or private information separate. Without a last will and testament, the court will name an executor, typically a spouse or an older child.

Revocable Living Trust

A living trust is a fund in which assets can be placed. Assets in the trust can be distributed at any given time, such as when a child turns 18, or at the time of your death. You will also name a trustee, someone who will manage the trust and assets. Trusts are often used for tax saving purposes.

Beneficiary Designations

For certain accounts, such as a 401(k), life insurance, or bank account, you will designate a beneficiary, someone who will receive the asset in the event of your passing. You can select a single person to receive the entire amount or select several people and designate a certain percentage that will be given to each person. Beneficiary designations should be reviewed regularly.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is someone who has the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. This person will have access to your bank accounts, investment accounts, insurance, social security, debt, and taxes. This person should be someone you trust to make decisions that are in your best interest.

Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will

A healthcare power of attorney has the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Your healthcare power of attorney will follow the instructions included in your living will, a document that provides information regarding your end-of-life care. Include information about whether or not you want to be left on a ventilator, for how long, and under what circumstances, where you want to be treated, what medication or surgery you want, and more.

List of Important Documents

To keep your estate organized and make it easy for family members to manage your estate and property, gather important documents such as:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuities
  • Pension or retirement accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Birth certificate
  • Real estate deed
  • Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds

Without these documents, it will be much harder for remaining family members to manage your health care and distribute your estate in the way that you want. Your family may not know what your wishes are, and the court will need to step in to make decisions as well.

Work With Goldberg & Associates For Your Estate Planning Needs

Creating an estate plan can be overwhelming, and there are many documents that need to be created, but when everything is in order, you can be sure that your wishes will be met and your family protected. Don’t wait to start planning your estate, get in touch with our attorneys today.

At Goldberg & Associates, we specialize in handling elder law and elder law cases. All of our resources are at your fingertips when you work with Goldberg & Associates. We will do everything in our power to ensure the maximum amount that can be saved, will be saved for your retirement. No stone goes unturned at Goldberg & Associates; we are prepared to make sure you do everything you need to in order to max out those savings options, and make way for the time when you will get to retire.