Death. It is inevitable. No one likes considering their mortality but, the smartest among us prepare for it. Preparation helps the suffering of those you are leaving behind.
Filing the proper estate planning forms, consolidating assets into a trust, and making sure your affairs are in order is the greatest gift you can give your surviving loved ones.
By planning for the unexpected, you can avoid being taken advantage of and throw a safety net around your family and finances. Here, you will find the five most crucial estate planning forms you need.
Filling Out A Living Will
A living will gives your family, and any medical team attending you, instructions on how to take care of you if you are unable to make those decisions on your own.
Learn more about this and other advanced medical directives in our blog about creating an incapacitation plan here.
Establish A Durable Power of Attorney
One of the essential documents needed for estate planning is a durable power of attorney. This document assigns someone to act on your behalf if you should be incapacitated.
Unexpected things happen every day no matter your age. A durable power of attorney goes a long way towards making sure your wishes and finances are respected in a “worst case” scenario.
Choosing someone you trust to pay your bills, handle your finances and investments, and keep up the paperwork of your everyday life will help to make sure no one takes advantage of you or your estate.
Write A Legal Will
Writing a last will & testament is the first thing people consider when thinking about preparing for death. It is the legal form designating how you would like your estate to be divided up among any heirs you have.
A will assigns an executor who will manage your estate after your passing. If you have children, there will be a section on who should be appointed as their legal guardians if they are still minors when you pass.
Letter of Instruction
This letter goes along with the will as a non-legal, simple breakdown of the contents of the will. It is also the best place to put what your wishes are regarding the education, beliefs, and other significant decisions about your children.
A letter of instruction will allow you to say anything you don’t want to be made public knowledge since this is private and a will is public.
Form A Living Trust
A living trust avoids a legal process after death known as probate. Probate is the legal process your estate enters into after you die.
Any assets in a living trust are exempt from probate and will immediately be distributed, per your instructions, to any heirs. Setting up a living will can save your loved ones from stress and expenses related to probate.
Precise Preparation Before Death Avoids Confusion and Unnecessary Costs
Improving your familiarity with the forms and concepts necessary for a fully developed estate plan will help things go more smoothly for you and your family as you age and pass on. In fact, in the absolute worst case scenario, having these items prepared and maintained by a great estate lawyer, will be a godsend to those you leave behind.
If you are ready to take the next steps in estate planning we are here to help. You can read more about our family estate services here.