Essential Estate Planning Documents You Need to Know

When it comes to creating a solid estate plan, you need more than just a Last Will and Testament. Knowing a bit about the documents involved will help you to prepare for the future. There are multiple concerns to think about when you make an estate plan, from how your property will be distributed to medical directives to putting money in trust for your loved ones. Here are some basic estate planning documents to get you started:

Living Trust

A living trust allows you to pass assets to loved ones without involving probate. The named Trustee will be responsible for managing property such as money and valuables placed in the trust. A trust can be used to create guidelines for distributing assets, and they can be carried out immediately or in the future.

Durable Power of Attorney

One of the most vital parts of an estate plan, Durable Power of Attorney allows you to choose someone you trust to manage your affairs if you are unable to. If this document is not in place, families could be forced to go to court to establish guardianship, a process that can be expensive and contentious. It’s best to consult with a New York estate planning lawyer to draft the necessary documents and avoid a stressful situation.

HIPAA Waiver

HIPAA exists to protect patient confidentiality, so without a waiver your family members might not be able to access information about your medical condition. Having a HIPAA Waiver in place allows your loved ones to be consulted by doctors and nurses about your treatment. It allows healthcare professionals to see who you would like to know about your condition.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

This document is specifically designed to allow a designated person to make decisions on your behalf if you become mentally or physically incapacitated. This will most likely not be necessary if you remain able to make your own decisions, but it can prevent a lot of confusion and uncertainty in the event that you can no longer make your wishes known.

Inventory of Assets

Listing significant assets beyond just homes and cars will make distributing your assets much simpler for the executor of your estate. With everything accounted for, they can carry out the wishes set forth in your Will more effectively. The inventory should include any stocks, bank accounts, financial advisers and CPAs, loan documents, marriage and divorce records, bonds, retirement accounts, deeds to property, and valuables.

Living Will

A Living Will is an estate planning document you can make that will let doctors know what treatments you do and do not wish to receive. For example, patients who do not wish to be resuscitated can stipulate their wishes as part of a Living Will. Despite its name, it is not related to a Last Will and Testament.

Estate planning can sometimes be complex, but once it is done, you can go forward with peace of mind knowing your wishes will be followed. For help navigating the process, contact the law offices of Queens probate lawyer Richard Cary Spivack today.