3 Essential Documents to Begin Your Estate Planning Journey

Starting your estate planning journey involves preparing essential documents that will help protect your assets, ensure your wishes are carried out, and provide for your loved ones in the future. Here are three crucial documents to get you started:

  1. Last Will and Testament:

A Last Will and Testament (commonly known as a will) is a foundational document in estate planning. It allows you to outline how you want your assets to be distributed after your passing. Within your will, you can name beneficiaries, specify the assets they will receive, and even appoint guardians for minor children if necessary. Without a will, your assets may be distributed according to state laws, which might not align with your wishes.

  1. Durable Power of Attorney:

A Durable Power of Attorney (POA) grants someone you trust (the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated or unable to manage your affairs. This document is crucial for managing your financial matters, paying bills, and making other critical decisions during times when you are unable to do so yourself.

  1. Advance Healthcare Directive (Living Will and Health Care Surrogate):

An Advance Healthcare Directive consists of two components: the Living Will and the Health Care Surrogate. The Living Will allows you to express your wishes concerning medical treatments and life-sustaining measures if you are unable to communicate your preferences. The Health Care Surrogate designates a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf when you cannot do so yourself. Together, these documents ensure that your healthcare choices are respected and carried out in accordance with your values and beliefs.

By having these essential documents in place, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order and that your loved ones will be cared for according to your wishes. As your life circumstances change, it’s crucial to regularly review and update these documents to reflect any new developments or changes in your preferences.

Estate planning is a dynamic process, and it’s best to work with qualified professionals to create a comprehensive plan that aligns with your specific needs and goals. If you are ready to begin your estate planning or would like to update your existing plan, call Linda Solash-Reed, P.L. at 321-804-2915 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.