4 Documents To Include in Your Estate Plan

4 Documents To Include in Your Estate Plan

Putting together an estate plan might seem like a daunting task, but it can really simplify things for your loved ones after your death. Of course, nobody wants to think about their own death, but it’s important that you get your affairs together so nobody else has to worry about what you would prefer. An estate plan consists of various documents, but the following are four you should be sure to include.

1. A Will

Also referred to as a last will and testament, a will allows you to determine what should be done with your property, your children and your pets after your death. Your will generally names an executor who is responsible for carrying out those wishes. If you want your property sold and all the proceeds donated to a charity, your executor would be in charge of handling that. If you want to leave different property to different individuals, the will would outline those details.

If you have children, you would name guardians for them in your will. You should speak to the guardians beforehand to make sure they agree to take your children in the case of your death. You can also list any property that goes with the children and how it should be distributed to them. If you have pets, you can designate someone to take them as well.

2. A Power of Attorney

A document called a power of attorney designates someone who can act on your behalf in relation to financial and health care decisions. For example, if you are out of town, that individual could work with a realtor to sell your house. If you are incapacitated or you die, the document is void.

A durable power of attorney is different from a typical POA. If it’s durable, that means it doesn’t become void when you are incapacitated. The durable POA could continue to act on your behalf.

3. A Trust

A trust is a document you can use to pass assets on to your heirs. This allows them to avoid the probate process and keeps the information private. In the trust, you would name a trustee. This individual would be trusted to fulfill the instructions as listed in the will. A trust also offers you a way to avoid taxes.

4. A Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is used as a way for you to let people know how you want something done. It doesn’t have the same legal weight as a will or a trust, but you can indicate how you want your funeral to go, for example.

An estate planning lawyer in Arlington Heights, IL from a firm like Bott & Associates, Ltd.

could be a huge asset when you’re working on your estate.