Estate plans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are extraordinarily complex and contain thousands of pages of legal documents. Other estate plans contain only a few basic documents. One of the interesting things about estate plans is the documents that make up the simplest estate plans are also part of the most advanced plans. These documents are the basic framework of estate plans. The Chicago Tribune recently discussed what these basic documents are in “Documents you need before you die or become incapacitated.” They include:
- Will – At its core a will is simply a legal document that declares how a deceased person’s property that is not disposed of by any other legal means should be handled.
- General Durable Power of Attorney – A standard document that allows a person to determine who should handle his or her finances in case of incapacity.
- Health Care Power of Attorney – Similar to the other power of attorney, but it allows for someone else to make medical decisions for an incapacitated person.
- Living Will – Gives prior instructions to medical personnel about what means should be used to prolong a person’s life in the event that the person is terminally ill with no chance of recovery and unable to give instructions at the time.
Meet with an estate planning attorney to determine what additional documents you may need.
Reference: Chicago Tribune (July 25, 2016) “Documents you need before you die or become incapacitated”