Many people consider an estate plan as a necessary legal document for retirees. Although this is true, an estate plan is vital at all stages of adulthood. In fact, an estate plan is vital in case of an emergency.
For example, if a person becomes unable to handle their financial affairs, who can legally take care of their obligations? Also, if parents of young children are in a terrible accident, who will care for their children? These concerns and other emergencies are legally addressed in a well written estate plan.
This article provides information on necessary estate planning documents and how they can provide care for yourself and your loved ones. For the benefit of the reader, we include PDF examples for many of these documents below.
Examples Of Estate Planning Documents
Last Will and Testament
The Michigan Last Will and Testament is a legal document that outlines a person’s wishes regarding property distribution after death. Drafting a will also designates beneficiaries and appoints an executor for the estate. Any specific provisions regarding family heirlooms may also be included in the will. This document should be updated every few years.
Last Will PDF
A Living Will is a legal document that expresses your desires regarding what your wishes are if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. It’s extremely important to have an attorney’s guidance when drawing up a living will.
Living Will PDF
Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust is another legal document similar to a will. This type of trust names the estate’s executor and establishes beneficiaries. The greatest benefit of a Revocable Living Trust is that it avoids Probate Court and saves inheritance taxes. An experienced trust attorney can discuss the benefits of establishing this type of trust.
Revocable Living Trust PDF
Durable Power of Attorney (POA)
Drafting a power of attorney involves naming a trusted person to make financial decisions for you after you pass away, or if you become incapacitated. Basically, a POA pays your bills and distributes assets after you die. Of course, a POA must follow your wishes. If you choose to appoint a POA to handle financial matters when you are unable to do so, the POA must act in your best interests.
Durable Power of Attorney PDF
Appointment of Guardianship
All parents of young children should appoint guardians for their children. This is necessary in case the unthinkable happens and both parents are incapable of caring for their beloved children.
Appointment of Guardianship PDF
Health Care Power of Attorney
This legal document is also referred to as the Advance Directive for Health Care. This form helps you choose your patient advocate and express your health care wishes. Naturally, it’s important to notify the patient advocate that you’ve chosen them for this tremendous responsibility. It would be wise to share the form with your advocate so they know what your wishes are ahead of time. Remember, people will be under stress when you are gravely ill and your pre planning helps your family and friends during difficult times.
Health Care Power of Attorney PDF
Special Needs Trust (SNT)
If there is a family member that requires extra assistance due to a mental or physical disability, establishing a special needs trust can assist this person. Your attorney can advise you on this matter.
Special Needs Trust PDF
Where To Keep Estate Planning Documents
All important estate planning documents should be in a safe place and the executor should know where these documents are located. Also, either the executor or beneficiaries should know bank account information or have copies of CD’s, stock information, passwords, IRA’s, deeds, and other vital account data.
Plan a Comfortable Future
Estate Planning remains extremely important for adults of all ages and should be updated every few years. Preplanning protects your family during difficult times, secures assets, ensures your medical wishes are carried out and may save inheritance taxes. Sometimes people are afraid to write an estate plan because it makes them uncomfortable. Yet, not meeting with an experienced attorney for estate planning may hurt your family later on and no one wants that for their loved ones.