You might know that an estate plan contains more than just a will, but do you know what other documents it contains?
Every estate plan is different. And different people and families have different needs. Thus, what is in one person's estate plan will not necessarily be in another person's estate plan.
However, there are some basic documents that can be found in almost any estate plan worthy of the name. These documents are the backbone upon which any other estate planning documents are attached.
Recently, The Motley Fool explored this issue in "Estate Planning Checklist: How to Protect Your Future, Your Family and Your Property."
According to The Motley Fool these basic documents include:
- A Living Will - Also known as an Advanced Healthcare Directive, this document allows you to direct what methods doctors will use to preserve your life if you are incapacitated and cannot tell them yourself.
- General Durable Power of Attorney - This allows you to designate someone else to handle your financial affairs if you become unable to do so yourself.
- Will - Even if a will is not the primary means by which your estate is to be distributed, you still need one for any leftover assets.
- Beneficiary forms - If you have life insurance or retirement accounts, the forms designating beneficiaries are considered part of your estate plan.
These are the basic documents in almost every estate plan.
You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney about getting these fundamental legal documents in place and discuss other documents you might need in your own estate plan.
Reference: The Motley Fool (July 15, 2015) "Estate Planning Checklist: How to Protect Your Future, Your Family and Your Property."