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The Four Must-Have Estate Planning Documents

posted 10/14/2017 in Trust

Estate-Planning-Must-Haves, power of attorney, POA, last will and testament

October Declared Estate Planning Awareness Month

Most people don’t want to think about estate plans, and that’s understandable. However, it’s something that needs to be done. If you have property, you need to consider what will happen to it if you pass away or become incapacitated. In addition, you need to make sure that there is someone to manage your medical decisions if you can’t do so yourself. Catastrophic health events can happen at any age, so it’s best to be prepared.

Here are the four must-have estate planning documents.

Last Will and Testament

Everyone has heard of a last will and testament, or a “will.” This is a comprehensive document that lets you determine how your property will be distributed after your death. The last will and testament is also crucial if you have children, because it lets you specify who will take care of your kids if you pass away unexpectedly. If you have property and/or children, you need a will.

Living Will

A living will is different than a last will and testament. A last will and testament deals with your assets and only holds power after your death, but a living will relates to healthcare and it holds no power after your death. Also called an “advance health care directive,” your living will allows you to write down your expectations for end-of-life medical treatment. It lists the life-saving or life-extending measures you are willing to take. It will be used in the event that you’ re too sick or injured to communicate your wishes to medical professionals.

Health Care Power of Attorney

The healthcare power of attorney allows another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make these decisions on your own. This is similar to the living will, but traditionally covers a slightly different set of issues, so it’s good to have both documents in your estate plan.

Durable Power of Attorney

The durable power of attorney is a document that allows someone to manage your financial affairs if you become too ill or injured to do so yourself. This document offers a high level of protection for you and your belongings, ensuring that the person you name in your durable power of attorney will act in your best interest if they ever have to take over your finances.

Do you have these four documents in place? The Trust representatives at Lincoln Savings Bank can help you set up the plan that is best for your situation, whether you need an individual trust for your family, or a corporate trust to ease the transition to new management or owners.

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