Essential Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning documents - The Law Office of David B. FerrellAlthough estate plans can vary depending on several factors, including the size and nature of the estate and the preparer’s wishes, there are numerous documents that should be included in most estate plans. These include the following:

Last Will and Testament

When considering preparing an estate plan, the Will is usually one of the first things that come to mind. Put simply, a Will is a written document that states how you would like your property and other assets distributed upon your death. Your Will also can also include who you would like to act as executor of your estate and name guardians for any minor children. Every estate plan should include a Will.

Advance Directives

Advance Directives include documents such as a Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney. A Living Will is a legal document stating your wishes for continued healthcare should you be unable to express these yourself. A Medical Power of Attorney (POA) gives someone the legal right to make decisions regarding your healthcare in this situation.

Durable Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial POA appoints make decisions regarding your money and gives them access to your financial accounts, should you be physically or mentally unable to handle your finances yourself. It’s important to include language that makes this document “durable,” otherwise it will not remain effective in the event you become incapacitated (defeating the purpose of this type of POA).

Letter of Instructions

In their article, The Cornerstones of an Estate Plan, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recommends that those preparing an estate plan also include a Letter of Instructions. Unlike the other estate planning documents listed, Letters of Instructions are informal directions to your survivors, advising them of legal, financial, and other matters that will need attention upon your death. They don’t hold the same legal weight as the other estate documents, but can be helpful in clarifying certain things mentioned or included elsewhere in your estate plan.

About David Ferrell

For over 30 years, David B. Ferrell has practiced excellence in the areas of probate, estate planning, DUI, and divorce law. David Ferrell is dedicated to providing each client with personal service, trustworthy advice, and expert representation. David B. Ferrell's Google+ Profile

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