BASIC ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE
Estate Planning and Trusts Law
Creating a Basic Estate Plan has many advantages during your lifetime and/or after your death. Some of the advantages include: the freedom to select the individual taking care of your personal affairs if you become disabled or die (rather than the Court), the ability to continue to provide support for your spouse and/or other loved ones upon your death, the ability to choose and/or designate who will recieve your assets at your death, and minimization of the need for Probate.
The following are five Estate Planning Documents everyone should have:
1. LIVING WILL: The Living Will, or “Health Care Directive” describes certain life prolonging treatments and allows you to decide which treatments you want to receive in the event that you are incapacitated and diagnosed by a doctor to be in a medical state such as a vegetative or end-stage condition.
2. HEALTH CARE SURROGATE: The Health Care Surrogate allows you to appoint the individual or individuals who will care for your health care needs in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot do so yourself.
3. DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY: The Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint the individual or individuals who will care for your health needs in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot do so yourself.
4. LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT: Your Last Will and Testament allows you to appoint individuals who will take care of your affairs after your death. The Last Will and Testament describes how funeral expenses are to be paid and may designate beneficiaries who you want to receive your personal and/or other property upon your death. Further, a Pour Over Last Will and Testament works in conjunction with a Revocable Living Trust to facilitate the passing of your assets without the necessity for Probate. In a Pour Over Last Will and Testament, the Revocable Living Trust designates the beneficiaries for your assets.
5. REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST: The Revocable Living Trust designates who will receive your assets after your death, or after the death of your spouse. The Revocable Living Trust can be used to minimize the necessity for Probate Administration and also to support your spouse and/or kids during your lifetime or after your death. The Revocable Living Trust is always revocable (or can be changed) during your lifetime and becomes irrevocable at your death to ensure that your wishes are followed.
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