When people think about estate planning, they usually know that one essential part of that is creating a Will. They seek an estate law attorney’s help in writing a Will because they want control over who will receive their assets after their death and want to make it easier for their loved ones to settle their estate.
Yet, creating a Will isn’t the only estate planning tool you need. Here are three other documents you want to take care of when you are making a comprehensive estate plan:
1. A living will and health care power of attorney designation
You never know what the future holds. If you were to be involved in a tragic auto accident or develop early onset Alzheimer’s, having a living will gives your family direction on what type of care you’d like to receive. You can designate if you want to be kept on life support or receive food via feeding tube.
You can also designate a health care power of attorney, who can make care decisions for you if you are incapacitated. This person must carry out your wishes as your agent.
2. A durable power of attorney
The person you designate as your power of attorney will make financial decisions if you are no longer mentally competent. You can appoint someone to handle your bank accounts, tax matters and even voting if you cannot handle those financial affairs.
3. Guardianship designations
If you have children, you want to ensure you’ve legally named a guardian for them as part of your estate plan. If you and your spouse pass away before they turn 18, you want to choose the person who will best care for them. Naming their guardian in your estate plan will do that. You can also outline terms governing when your children or a special needs individual can access to money outright. Few 18 year olds are prepared to have a large sum of money with no oversight.
Many adults put off estate planning. In fact, in a 2019 survey, the website Caring.com noted that only 40% of adult respondents had a Will in place, even though 60% thought estate planning was important.
You can give yourself, and your family, peace of mind by not only creating a Will, but by investing in these other essential estate planning documents. Then you and your family will know that your future is safeguarded and your wishes can be carried out.