5 Essential Estate Planning Documents

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Many people believe that having an estate plan means simply having a last will and testament or trust. While these documents are indeed important, they are only a few of the many tools necessary in creating a comprehensive estate plan. If you are looking to create an estate plan or are reviewing your existing plan, it is important you make sure to have the following documents.

  1. Last Will and Testament: Possibly the most well-known estate planning tool, a person’s will is the backbone of their estate plan. With this document, you can provide instructions to your family on how you want your assets distributed upon your death, designate beneficiaries, and choose guardians for your minor children to care for them in your absence.
  2. Living Trust: While a will designates who will receive your assets, it doesn’t make the transfer of these assets to them very smooth. In fact, when you pass away, your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries through probate – a notoriously complicated and expensive process. Fortunately, a living trust can allow you to avoid probate and transfer real estate, savings accounts, mutual funds, and other investments to your beneficiaries with ease.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act on your behalf in the event that you should become incapacitated. This person can be given the power to make financial and legal decisions when you cannot make them yourself. A durable power of attorney can also be given the power to make health decisions on your behalf, though many of these decisions can be made by yourself ahead of time in a living will.
  4. Living Will: In the event that you should become unresponsive due to injury or illness, do you want to be kept alive on life support? A living will allows you to express your preferences ahead of time and give doctors instructions on how you want to be cared for in your final days.
  5. Funeral Instructions: You can save your family a considerable burden and heartache by making your own funeral and burial arrangements ahead of time. Many states typically provide that a deceased person’s “next of kin” have the authority to make funeral and burial arrangements. If your next of kin is not the party that you would choose to arrange your funeral and burial, creating your own funeral arrangements can help to ensure that your wishes are honored.

Create Your Estate Plan with Davidov Law Group

At Davidov Law Group, our Nassau County estate planning lawyers have been helping individuals and families secure their futures for more than 25 years. If you are looking to create a legally sound estate plan, our highly-trained attorneys can provide the steadfast guidance you need to help you prepare for many of life’s “what if” scenarios.

To get started, call (516) 806-4414 or schedule a personal case review today.

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