As you age, the goal should be to live as happy and carefree a life as possible. That’s why having your estate organized should anything go wrong is a necessary step to helping you lead a less stressful life in your later years. Here are five estate planning documents that will help protect you and your loved ones.
When organized correctly, a revocable living trust helps make it easier to manage your current finances by allowing someone to assist you. It’s a very important document no matter the state of your finances, as it allows you to maintain control over your finances as long as you want and allows you to update it as you see fit.
The trust also allows you to appoint a trusted individual with control over your finances should the time come that you can no longer make decisions. It helps protect both you and your loved ones from the efforts of having to take the time-consuming steps necessary to assume control should a living trust not be in effect.
An advanced directive is a roadmap of sorts that provides loved ones and medical professionals guidance on your health care. It typically details what sort of treatment and care you’d like to receive should you be unable to communicate these specifics at some point. In addition, it provides information regarding the point at which you would like medical professionals to stop trying to provide treatment. When organizing your advanced directive, communicate with your loved ones so that they are aware of your wishes and what the directive itself stipulates.
Typically, the durable power of attorney for health care is included in an advanced directive. It allows you to appoint someone (and usually a backup as well) to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so at any point.
Having a will organized well in advance can help you and your family avoid tension regarding any items, financial or otherwise, that loved ones may inherit. Use your will to be very specific about who receives what, even down to small keepsakes.
Not all assets should be in your living trust. Items like an IRA, pension funds or some other financial accounts are not covered by a living trust and must be organized into a durable financial power of attorney. For example, should you become incapacitated and you need a loved one to manage a credit card, they would need durable financial power of attorney.
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