The 5 Basic Estate Planning Documents

With the recent changes in federal estate and income tax and with the hint of more changes to come, you may have decided to review your estate plan or perhaps create one for the first time. Bravo! Now it’s time to answer the question: What do you really need when creating an estate plan?  Let’s face it, your estate plan will be for the ease and benefit of those you leave behind. By having a good estate plan in place you will save your executor and loved ones much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, not to mention time and money!

Estate Planning Documents

What documents do I need?

There are three basic documents that everyone should have: powers of attorney and Will.  You may choose to have more if your situation dictates that you also need a trust. In general, shorter documents are better than long ones.  (Re-read the sentence above about weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.) Some attorneys regularly produce documents that are more than 50 pages long when a shorter document would do as well.  Long complex documents are hard for most executors to wade through.

Below is a brief description of the documents that most people need:

  1. Financial Power of Attorney – gives another person the right to act on your behalf in matters financial when you are living but unable to act for yourself. It can be either springing or immediate.
  2. Healthcare Power of Attorney – gives another person the right to make healthcare decisions on your behalf when you are living but unable to make decisions for yourself.   It can be either springing or immediate.
  3. Will – a legal document in which a person expresses their wishes as to how their property is to be distributed at death and names an executor to manage and distribute the estate.
  4. Trust – A written agreement in which property is held by a Trustee for the benefit of another person, the beneficiary, in accordance with the terms of the trust.
  5. Advance Directive – makes known your wishes for medical treatment at the end of life when you are no longer able to speak for yourself.

Give us a call today at 615 620-4613 so that we can help you decide which combination of documents are best for you and your family. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speak Your Mind