Essential Estate Planning Documents

Estate Planning - February 5, 2024
Lawyer explaining estate planning documents to a mature married couple.

None of us can prepare for every twist and turn in life. But as you age, it’s essential for you to make a plan for your property, loved ones, finances, and other affairs. Creating estate planning documents may sound daunting, but once the process is done, you get to rest easy knowing you have left directions to help you manage your affairs during your lifetime, distribute your estate after death, and minimize problems for your loved ones.

What are the estate planning essentials that you’ll need?

Estate planning documents and a pair of reading glasses.Last Will and Testament

This is a document with which you’re probably already familiar. A Last Will and Testament allows you to lay out your wishes about where your estate will go upon death, who you want to administer your estate, which of your loved ones want to receive which property items, and more. You can also specify your preferences for who will care for your minor children. Your Last Will and Testament gives you control over the future of your estate.

Who do you want to inherit your belongings, finances, insurance benefits, and other assets? You can name multiple beneficiaries in your Last Will and Testament to make sure that everyone receives something—or you can leave all your assets to one specified individual. You can also name contingent beneficiaries in case your primary choices don’t work out. The choice is yours. Now your loved ones don’t have to argue over your belongings when you are gone.

Living Will

How do you want to spend your last days? A Physician’s Directive or Advance Directive, which is also known as a Living Will, is a legal document related to life-sustaining treatment decisions and allows you to make your wishes known regarding end-of-life decisions when you’re unable to do so. It also may include other provisions.

Power of Attorney

This document considers your future if you become incapacitated and need someone to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf. You can designate an agent to manage your finances and make healthcare decisions for you. You can decide whether this agent may act immediately or once you become incapacitated or are no longer able to make decisions. The power of attorney can be general, authorizing your agent to conduct all acts, or limited, authorizing your agent to conduct specific acts or make certain decisions on your behalf.

Estate Planning Checklist

Woman smiling as she holds couple's estate planning documents while standing next to seated husband and lawyer.What process should you consider for completing all these important legal documents? Check out this guide, complete with a to-do list, to better understand the steps you need to take as you plan your estate.

Importance of Estate Planning

We really can’t overstate how important it is that you take care of your estate planning. As a LegalShield Member, you can get consultation and assistance from your provider law firm with such personal legal issues as a Will, Living Will, Powers of Attorney, other estate planning. For a small monthly membership fee, you gain access to a provider law firm in your state who is ready to help you.

Your LegalShield provider law firm can help you review paperwork, make a phone call or write a letter on your behalf if necessary, offer consultation on an unlimited number of estate planning-related legal matters, and may perform other essential services to help you get your estate in order.

Estate planning isn’t easy, and you’re bound to have many questions that an internet search cannot answer. That’s where having a LegalShield personal legal plan membership can come in, with our network of provider law firms who are ready to help you.


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